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English Passengers: A Novel

English Passengers: A Novel
Author: Matthew Kneale
ISBN 13: 9780385497442
ISBN 10: 38549744
Edition: Reprint
Publisher: Anchor
Publication Date: 2001-01-16
Format: Paperback
Pages: 446
List Price: $17.00

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 traveling 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 story that begins in 1824, moves into the present with approach of the English passengers in 1857, and extends into the future in 1870. These characters and many others come together in a storm of voices that vividly bring a past age to life.

Evening Standard

At first glance it looks like any other hefty work of historical fiction, but inside it lies a slimmer, more subversive, story.