Novelist Shakespeare (The Vision of Elena Silves) has written a fascinating book about his adopted home, the little-known island of Tasmania, located off the southeast coast of Australia. He follows the history of his ancestor, the scoundrel Anthony Kemp (often called the "Father of Tasmania"), who played a large part in Tasmania's early colonization. Along the way, he also explores the history and treatment of Tasmanian Aboriginals, the convict ships and the "King of Iceland," the possibly extinct Tasmanian tiger, muttonbirds, Merle Oberon (Tasmanian or not), and the unique environment and challenges of this isolated land. As Shakespeare describes it, Tasmania is a secret and rarely visited place that has been both Elysium and Hades. As a history and an introduction to the country, this book is an irresistible account of a mysterious and beautiful land. Highly recommended. Melissa Stearns, Franklin Pierce Coll. Lib., Rindge, NH Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.