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The Secret River

Cover of The Secret River

The Secret River

Thornhill Series, Book 1
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WINNER OF THE 2006 COMMONWEALTH OVERALL BEST BOOK AWARD

After a childhood of poverty and petty crime in the slums of London, William Thornhill is sentenced in 1806 to be transported to New South Wales for the term of his natural life. With his wife, Sal, and children in tow, he arrives in a harsh land that feels at first like a death sentence. But among the convicts there is a whisper that freedom can be bought, an opportunity to start afresh. Away from the infant township of Sydney, up the Hawkesbury River, are white men who have tried to do just that. But, as uninhabited as the island appears at first, Australia is full of native people, and they too claim the land as their own.

The Secret River’s sweeping historical action joins the grand tradition established by Patrick White and Peter Carey. Already a best seller in Australia, The Secret River is the dramatic and potent story of Grenville’s ancestors, who wrested a new life from the alien terrain of Australia and its native people.

WINNER OF THE 2006 COMMONWEALTH OVERALL BEST BOOK AWARD

After a childhood of poverty and petty crime in the slums of London, William Thornhill is sentenced in 1806 to be transported to New South Wales for the term of his natural life. With his wife, Sal, and children in tow, he arrives in a harsh land that feels at first like a death sentence. But among the convicts there is a whisper that freedom can be bought, an opportunity to start afresh. Away from the infant township of Sydney, up the Hawkesbury River, are white men who have tried to do just that. But, as uninhabited as the island appears at first, Australia is full of native people, and they too claim the land as their own.

The Secret River’s sweeping historical action joins the grand tradition established by Patrick White and Peter Carey. Already a best seller in Australia, The Secret River is the dramatic and potent story of Grenville’s ancestors, who wrested a new life from the alien terrain of Australia and its native people.

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    9 - 12

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Awards-
About the Author-
  • Kate Grenville is an internationally award-winning author. Her most recent novel, The Idea of Perfection, won the Orange Prize for Fiction. Her five other works of fiction have won numerous awards and she has held a fellowship from the Literary Arts Board of the Australian Council. Grenville lives in Sydney with her family.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    March 27, 2006
    Grenville's Australian bestseller, which won the Orange Prize, is an eye-opening tale of the settlement of New South Wales by a population of exiled British criminals. Research into her own ancestry informs Grenville's work, the chronicle of fictional husband, father and petty thief William Thornhill and his path from poverty to prison, then freedom. Crime is a way of life for Thornhill growing up in the slums of London at the turn of the 19th century—until he's caught stealing lumber. Luckily for him, a life sentence in the penal colony of New South Wales saves him from the gallows. With his wife, Sal, and a growing flock of children, Thornhill journeys to the colony and a convict's life of servitude. Gradually working his way through the system, Thornhill becomes a free man with his own claim to the savage land. But as he transforms himself into a trader on the river, Thornhill realizes that the British are not the first to make New South Wales their home. A delicate coexistence with the native population dissolves into violence, and here Grenville earns her praise, presenting the settler–aboriginal conflict with equanimity and understanding. Grenville's story illuminates a lesser-known part of history—at least to American readers—with sharp prose and a vivid frontier family.

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    Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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The Secret River
The Secret River
Thornhill Series, Book 1
Kate Grenville
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