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Slowly poisoned Monsarrat and Mrs Mulrooney suspect the commandant's second in command Captain Diamond a cruel man who shares history with Honora Then Diamond has Mrs Mulrooney arrested for the murder Knowing his friend will hang if she is tried Monsarrat knows he must find the real killer And so begins The Monsarrat Series a fast paced witty and gripping series from Tom Keneally and his eldest daughter Meg This is a book that I had been looking forward to for uite a while and it completely exceeded all the expectations I had for it Book one in the Monsarrat series set in the 1820's ish The Soldiers Curse introduces us to Hugh Monsarrat deported to Sydney for forging documents and passing himself off as a lawyer Following his release there he made an error of judgementt that landed him in Port Macuarie a convict once and this time in a settlement designed for reoffenders and so harder than Sydney For this second sentence Hugh is serving as the clerk for the settlement’s commandant and while he is in many ways in a very favourable situation for a convict at Port Macuarie the life there is hard and hazardous Monsarrat yearns for his ticket of leave and his freedom As he serves out his sentence often lonely and always constrained by his conflicting status on one hand a 'gentleman' and a clerk on the other hand a convict one of his social contacts and unlikely comforters is the other main protagonist that will continue with the series Hannah Mulrooney A free woman originally deported for minor crimes she is now the housekeeper for the commandant and his lovely young bride When the commandant’s wife dies the second in command tries to pin the murder on Mrs Mulrooney and Hugh must intervene to prevent her from hangingThat is the story line and it is a very satisfying story line which has all the right combinations of complexity and simplicity to make the story roll but the real joys in this book lie in elements beyond the actual story line or the excellent characterisations of the main characters and the diverse fascinating and well researched elements of the many secondary players in the drama It is really the setting the attention to historical detail and the impressive knowledge of the times and circumstances that won me over I loved the descriptions of Port Macuarry and the details of the daily life of the convicts I found the descriptions of the Birpai tribe of traditional land owners was fascinating and tasteful and the attitudes of the westerners towards them were managed very deftly It is difficult to write a work of fiction in that era or relations between British and Aborigines without being crass and offensive or hopelessly inaccurate This book did a pretty good job of it I thoughtSo while I was expecting a good yarn I also thought it would be a little formulaic and I was delighted to find it was not at all the case Vivid descriptive and innovative I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to in the series A enjoyable extra is the authors note at the back where the two authors go into sources and miscellaneous facts about the historical sources for the Port Macuarie penal settlement its maps and historic figures as well as other details that helped flesh out this extremely enjoyable historic whodunnit

KINDLE The Soldier’s Curse Monsarrat #1

The Soldier’s Curse Monsarrat #1A fast paced witty and gripping historical crime series from Tom Keneally and his eldest daughter Meg In the Port Macuarie penal settlement for second offenders at the edge of the known world gentleman convict Hugh Monsarrat hungers for freedom Originally transported for forging documents passing himself off as a lawyer he is now the trusted clerk of the settlement's commandant His position has certain advan This is superb historical fiction written by Thomas Keneally and his daughter Meg It is set in 19th century Australia at Port Macuirie New South Wales a penal colony of convicts soldiers and civil officers Hugh Llewellyn Monsarrat is convicted of impersonating a barrister in Exeter a profession beyond his reach despite his abilities and competence in legal affairs He manages to avoid being hanged and is transported instead to Sydney as a convict After crossing paths with a zealous and malicious church minister he is located to the penal colony He finds his indispensable skills being utilised as an administrative clerk by the humane and liberal Commandant of Port Macuirie Major Angus Shelbourne The Major's wife Honora implements a range of compassionate and progressive initiatives for women and convicts with the support of her husband The indigenous burpai are often treated as lower than convicts they are understandably upset at the level of exploitation and abuse of the natural environment Partly thanks to the efforts of Honora an uneasy truce exists with them and the colony with the Barpai often coming to the aid of the incomersMajor Shelbourne leaves with a party to meet an absconded convict who apparently has come across a new river with fertile territory The fearsome and cunning Captain Diamond is left in charge a brutal man with little in the way of humanity A camaraderie develops between the housekeeper Hannah Mulrooney Irish Private Fergal Slattery and Monsarrat over their daily ritual of tea drinking Slattery joined the army after his family were evicted by their landowner and slid into inevitable poverty in Ireland Honora falls dangerously ill and slowly deteriorates despite the ministrations of Mrs Mulrooney Diamond displays his brutal violence with a Irish boy who absconds and turns his attention to Monsarrat forcing him to give him detailed information on the state of Honora This raises suspicions in Mrs Mulrooney and Monsarrat as to what lies behind Diamond's interest Honora dies and it becomes clear that she was poisoned The Major puts his close ally Diamond in charge of finding out the culprit and he points the finger at Mrs Mulrooney Monsarrat knows the housekeeper is innocent and is unwilling to see her hang Is he right that Diamond is responsible for Honora's murder? Or is someone else behind it?The novel mixes fact and fiction in this story of life in Port Macuirie as a penal colony in 1825 The hard life of convicts is described in detail accompanied with a social and political commentary as to how poverty and ineuality often lay behind their fate This is epitomised by Monsarrat a man denied his career of choice whilst he observes the incompetence of actual practictioners of law who rely on him to do their work as a gifted clerk A few years later after the end of this novel there are massacres of the indigenous Barpai The horrors and privations of this period in Australian history with the prevalence of death and injustice is well documented in the book as well as the compassion of some figures such as the Major and his wife Honora This is brilliant historical fiction that I loved reading Highly recommended Many thanks to Oneworld publications for an ARC

Meg Keneally ↠ The Soldier’s Curse Monsarrat #1 PDF

DOC õ READER The Soldier’s Curse Monsarrat #1 FREE Ü HORTICULTURETRADER ´ [KINDLE] ✽ The Soldier’s Curse Monsarrat #1 By Meg Keneally – Horticulturetrader.co.uk A fast paced witty and gripping historical crime series from Tom Keneally and his eldest daughter Meg In the Port MacuariTages such as being able to spend time in the Government House kitchen being supplied with outstanding cups of tea by housekeeper Hannah Mulrooney who despite being illiterate is his most intelligent companion Not long after the commandant heads off in search of a rumoured river his beautiful wife Honora falls ill with a sickness the doctor is unable to identify When Honora dies it becomes clear she has been I feel that I must disagree with the description in the blurb that this is fast paced and gripping I found it was a compelling read with a slow build up to uite an interesting outcome Although I enjoyed reading it and liked the story it wasn't necessarily a page turner I did however enjoy the wonderful writing and description of penal Australia and especially having been to Port Macuarie it wasn't difficult to imagine that time and place The Keneallys certainly did their homework and the accuracy of historical facts and the description of the land and time makes it a perfect read The characters were very well fleshed out and three dimensional I really loved Monsarrat and Mrs Mulrooney and Major Shelborne I even couldn't help but feel some empathy for some of the villains There were parts of this that reminded me of C J Sansom and the Shardlake series Overall this was a 35 star read and I will definitely be keen to read the next one