Lover, poet, scholar by the standards of his day, and soldier-by-accident, Corporal Halloran of the British Army, posted to a remote penal colony, finds himself confronted with some strange and often brutal realities. He must face up to the heart-breaking needs of his girl, his "secret bride"' the challenge of his countrymen, mainly Irish--both heroes and blackguards--at odds with this alien world; the discipline of his superior officers; and the commands of his own conscience. This struggle forces him into a world of his own, constructed out of pity and love for the girl, loyalty to his fellow men, and a sense of his own integrity. The drams turns on the secret possibility of an escape by privateer and a spectacular and violent prisoners' revolt.
This is an intense and brilliant story of character and action by a rising luminary from Down Under. One of his critical compatriots has called him "Sydney's James Joyce" and "one of the most exciting events to arrive on the Australian literary front"; another has spoken of him as "Australia's most individual stylist since Patrick White." Undefined in time and place, Bring Larks and Heroes is a "historical novel" in only the most casual sense. In its human problems, and even in its language, it is thoroughly contemporary.
"A strange, rough-diamond sort of book by a strange, rough-handed sort of writer with a style all of his own," says an editor's candid report. "The fascination of the story is ghoulish in part, but only in part: the note of heroism, love, and tragedy triumphs over that. This is the sort of new writer Viking should bet on." We do so, proudly.
About the Author
Thomas Keneally was born in Sydney, Australia, in 1935. He has worked at a variety of jobs and is at present a schoolteacher, as well as a novelist and playwright. He is the author of two previous books, The Place at Whitton (1964) and The Fear (1965), and in 1966 he was awarded a Commonwealth Literary Fellowhship.
Mr. Keneally is married and has one daughter. He lives in Ryde, New South Wales.