The Soldiers Curse

Written by Meg & Tom Keneally

Review written by Sue Lord


The Soldiers Curse
One World
RRP: £16.99
Released: November 2 2017
HBK

If you like a fast paced crime novel with lots of action, a twisting plot and a surprising end, you won’t like this book. If on the other hand you like a literary, leisurely paced, historical work with a murder added, then The Soldiers Curse is the one for you.

Set in June 1825, in Port Macquaria, a newly established a penal station for second-time offenders. The main protagonist is Hugh Llewellyn Monsarrat transported for forging documents and masquerading as a solicitor. Monsarrat has become the trusted clerk of the settlement's commandant, Major Shelborne. 

Major Shelborne is not at home, he is on an expedition to the north, investigating a claim from an escaped convict who says he has found a new river surrounded by land ideal for cultivation in the north.

Not long after the commandant leaves Port Macquaria, his wife Honora, is struck with a sickness that the doctor is unable to diagnose.  Mrs Mulrooney, the Shelborne’s Irish cook/housekeeper assiduously looks after the young woman.

Hannah Mulrooney is illiterate but Monsarrat considers her his most intelligent companion. Every day Monsarrat takes tea with her in the kitchen of Government House. Private Fergal Slattery, cheeky and endearing also has his tea in the kitchen, happily bantering back and forth with Monsarrat and Mrs Mulrooney.

When Honora dies, Captain Diamond, the commandant's second-in-command has Mrs Mulrooney arrested for murder. Monsarrat and Mrs Mulrooney suspect the vicious, cruel, Captain Diamond of the crime.

Monsarrat knows he must find the killer before Hannah Mulrooney is hanged.

Editor’s Note : Booker prize winner Tom Kenealley has teamed up with his daughter Meg to write The Soldiers Curse, planned to be the first in a series.



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