James Talbot graduated from the University of Western Australia and, later, Murdoch University, with a determination to discover more of his country's shadow history. "Because, despite our unpromising start as a penal colony, this has always been a nation of high achievers," he says. A Wilful Woman is the second instalment of a series of novels spanning the years 1787 to 1988. "Not only within Australia," he adds, "but wherever else Australians have made their mark during two centuries of epic discovery, courage, and triumph.
A Wilful Woman: Adversity is her opportunity in this prison camp dominated by menby James Talbot
None have been spared, regardless of rank. The Governor, Arthur Phillip, is barely on
Fewer than fourteen hundred men, women, children - sailors and military, civilians free or in chains - have survived their epic voyage halfway around the globe to New Holland, enduring constant hunger and thirst, pain and fear since embarking at Portsmouth almost a year ago.
None have been spared, regardless of rank. The Governor, Arthur Phillip, is barely on speaking terms with his Lieutenant Governor Robert Ross, whose fuming quarrels have split the new colony long before its proclamation on 26th January 1788. These same hardships are forcing the transported prisoners to pool their courage and guile even when two of them - the grim redcoat veteran Joe "Tinderbox" Cribb, and the fiery Irish actress "Mrs" Catherine Brandon - are as opposed as Phillip and Ross. But change is in the air between this most unlikely of couples, and the scathing contempt she once felt for the convicted men's leader has grown into wary respect by the time the Thief Fleet casts anchor at Botany Bay. Their fight for survival is now about to become more deadly than anything experienced during this voyage to the ends of the earth, but adversity is opportunity as he and she are forced to unite, never imagining they are founding a colonial dynasty that will shape a nation's history...
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