WINNER OF THE WHITBREAD BOOK AWARD 2000
SHORTLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE 2000
'Deeply impressive. . . Every page fizzes with linguistic invention' Guardian
An electrifying modern classic - Kneale's sweeping adventure story vividly brings a past age to life
In 1857 when Captain Illiam Quillian Kewley and his band of rum smugglers from the Isle of Man have most of their contraband confiscated by British Customs, they are forced to put their ship up for charter. The only takers are two eccentric Englishmen who want to embark for the other side of the globe. The Reverend Geoffrey Wilson believes the Garden of Eden was on the island of Tasmania. His travelling partner, Dr. Thomas Potter, unbeknownst to Wilson, is developing a sinister thesis about the races of men. Meanwhile, an aboriginal in Tasmania named Peevay recounts his people's struggles against the invading British.
'A big, ambitious novel with a rich historical sweep and a host of narrative voices . . . The sort of novel that few contemporary writers have either the imagination or the stamina to sustain' Daily Telegraph