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The Soldier's Curse: A Novel (Monsarrat…
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The Soldier's Curse: A Novel (Monsarrat Series Trilogy Book 1) (utgåvan 2017)

av Thomas Keneally (Författare)

Serier: Monsarrat Series (book 1)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
477428,216 (4.14)6
A fast-paced, witty and gripping historical crime series from Tom Keneally and his eldest daughter Meg. In the Port Macquarie penal settlement for second offenders gentleman convict Hugh Monsarrat hungers for freedom. Originally transported for forging documents passing himself off as a lawyer, he is now the trusted clerk of the settlement's commandant. His position has certain advantages, such as being able to spend time in the Government House kitchen, being supplied with outstanding cups of tea by housekeeper Hannah Mulrooney, who, despite being illiterate, is his most intelligent companion. Not long after the commandant heads off in search of a rumoured river, his beautiful wife, Honora, falls ill with a sickness the doctor is unable to identify. When Honora dies, it becomes clear she has been slowly poisoned. Monsarrat and Mrs Mulrooney suspect the commandant's second-in-command, Captain Diamond, a cruel man who shares history with Honora. Then Diamond has Mrs Mulrooney arrested for the murder. Knowing his friend will hang if she is tried, Monsarrat knows he must find the real killer. And so begins The Monsarrat Series, a fast-paced, witty and gripping series from Tom Keneally and his eldest daughter, Meg.… (mer)
Medlem:paulobk
Titel:The Soldier's Curse: A Novel (Monsarrat Series Trilogy Book 1)
Författare:Thomas Keneally (Författare)
Info:Atria Books (2017)
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
Betyg:*****
Taggar:Ingen/inga

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The soldier's curse av Meg Keneally

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Set in 1820s Australia, The Soldier's Curse is an amiable if undemanding piece of historical crime fiction. Hugh Monsarrat, a clerk and convict, and his friend the housekeeper Hannah Mulrooney must solve the murder of the young wife of the commanding officer of their penal colony, while avoiding the noose and the lash themselves. The Keneallys' solid attention to historical detail and to character development elevate the book somewhat above the usual run of this genre.

The one real strike against the novel for me, though, was the presence of so many Irish characters—not one of whom sounded the least bit Irish. Syntax, word choice, and phrasing were all off. You can't just occasionally have people say "fooking" or "eejit" and hope that suffices to make characters sound like people from impoverished rural Irish backgrounds. You also can't have characters use a nationalist phrase in the Irish language which I'm pretty sure only came into use in the late nineteenth, if not twentieth, century (I feel like Beidh lá eile ag an bPaorach or similar was more likely to have been used when the action is only about a generation removed from 1798?). Nor, more generally, can you have characters write Irish words using the spelling and alphabet only introduced after the language reforms of the 1920s. That irritation aside, this is a decent read. ( )
  siriaeve | Nov 17, 2018 |
I have always loved Tom Keneally's writing and I loved this book. I was so intrigued by the character, I have had to purchase the series. ( )
  CarolBurnett | Oct 11, 2018 |
There are a handful of points that succinctly describe this first of the Monsarrat series by the father and daughter Keneally team. Firstly, that it is (and no doubt meant to be) an easy ‘whodunit’ read, that although set in the difficult and contentious convict era, keeps things light and entertaining.

Then there is the authorship question … who did the actually writing, Tom or Meg?

Thankfully, someone did their homework and discovered that Meg wrote and Tom edited, which made sense to us as no one felt The Soldier’s Curse was written in a typical Tom Keneally style.

Overwhelmingly, this book was considered a ‘good but not great’ read and that its biggest plus was the under-dramatized and ordinariness of convict life. A real breath of fresh air from the grisly and brutal depiction currently favoured.

Perfectly written with a screenplay in mind, the two main characters, Monsarrat and Mrs Mulrooney, combine to make the classic detective duo within an Australian historical context. Something we are sure will not be missed by film and TV producers.

Always supportive of Australian talent, we wish the Keneallys well with their latest project and our group will await the television series/movie with interest and careful optimism.

Dapto Tuesday Book Club

This month’s read scored high with most of our group. The historical setting and combined characters of Monsarrat and Mulroney proved entertaining enough, even for those who initially found the story a little hard to get into. As this is the first in a series of adventures for the two main protagonists, it is felt (and for us character driven readers, hoped) that more depth and complexity will evolve as the series develops.

The story itself flowed well and we all found it easy reading, but there was some discussion concerning the two authors and how the writing/research was divided between them. Mary thought she could define the two writing styles and felt it disrupted the flow somewhat. Others could not pick this at all and were of the opinion that the Keneally teamwork was clear and distinct.

Regardless of the high scores given, the conversation eventually revealed that the ‘slow release’ plot did drag out a little and Sandra in particular could not stay with it through lack of interest in the characters and the historical background. In contrast, Cathie thoroughly enjoyed it and after her completion of a Convict Ancestry course, found it chronologically interesting and factual.

We managed to diverge to a few other interesting topics through our discussion … namely illiteracy (Mulroney’s dilemma) and the convict life in general. In summing up, the general consensus seemed to be that, although this is no riveting tale that could in all intents and purposes, become an Australian classic (Secret River was mentioned here) it does absorb and captivate the reader, albeit in a more subtle and gentle manner. And given the gift of time and more episodes, may find Mulroney and Monsarrat well entrenched in the Australian literary psyche.

Dapto Monday Night Bookclub ( )
  jody12 | Jun 18, 2018 |
The Soldiers Curse - Tom and Meg Keneally
This is a page turner that has real depth but is also a very entertaining read. An historical novel with a slow burn murder mystery at the heart of the plot but that is by no means all that is going on in this novel. Fans of Thomas Keneally will love The Soldier's Curse recognising familiar themes and his ability to bring the past to life. In this case, Australia's colonial history. However, readers may also notice a slightly different style to the prose that must be part of the input of Meg Keneally. The idea for a series of novels featuring Hugh Monsarrat and the outline of the plot for this novel were written by Tom sometime ago but not turned into a completed work until now in this collaboration with his daughter. I am pleased to say they work well together because I was a little sceptical of this joint venture, even though I have been a fan of Thomas Keneally for a very long time. From the first few pages The Soldier's Curse won me round so the writing gene must run in the family. The story is set in an early 19th century British penal colony about 40 years after Botany Bay was founded. The authors cast a modern eye over the clash of cultures with the indigenous people, the Birpai and the internal conflicts within the settlement as soldiers and prisoners attempts to build a society - the beginning of modern Australia. The Keneallys have a calm unemotional tone that lets the drama of a story to speak for itself.
The plot is totally absorbing, every bit as good as Tom Keneally's other historical novels. The murder mystery is grounded in revenge and the tensions generated in this harsh world and is totally believable. The characters are strong and drive the plot, true to time and place. I have no doubt that the creation of Hugh Monsarrat can sustain a new series. The Soldier's Curse is gripping and realistic to the end, a tale of tragedy and cruelty but also compassion and endeavour. The prose style is smooth and elegant making this novel a real pleasure to read.
The novel is the biographical tale of Hugh Monserrat, from English law clerk to convict detective, desperately seeking to keep his friend Mrs. Mulrooney's from the gallows. It is also a tale of Australian life and intuit societal structures. As such the history is every bit as good as other literary Australian novels set in the same time - Richard Flannigan's 'Wanting' or Kate Grenville's 'The Secret River' and 'The Lieutenant'. There are scene of a flogging and a hanging that are visceral and 'raw' that makes you wince with the brutality and inhumanity of the times but are integral to the story.
Port MacQuarie, New South Wales an outpost commanded by Major Shelborne, his wife Honora attempts to make the enclave a better place for everyone but particularly the women of the colony. Hugh Monsarrat, is prisoner clerk to the Major. Captain Diamond, the second in command is a cold fish, a deeply unlikeable and dangerous man. When Shelborne heads an expedition to find new fertile lands to cultivate, Honora falls ill, Dr. Gonville seems unable to help as she deteriorates. Mrs. Mulrooney does her best to care for the woman and Monsarrat offers what support he can. When Honora dies and poison is suspected the investigation is left to Capt. Diamond but Hugh Monserrat is the only man willing and able to conduct a proper inquiry into what happened.
Thomas Keneally is a prolific Australian novelist with a solid body of work over the last 50 years. Most notably 'Schindler's Ark' in 1982 which won the Booker Prize that year. His fiction covers a broad a spectrum, my favorites include; Confederates (American Civil War) and The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith (Australian race history). I look forward to the next Hugh Monsarrat outing. ( )
  paulobk | Jul 31, 2017 |
It works for P.J Tracy and for Nicci French so why shouldn’t it work for Meg and……. Tom Keneally!?
I did a double take, I really did, when I heard of this partnership. Possibly because I revere Tom Keneally. Schindler’s Ark had me visiting Krakow at the first opportunity to find Oskar Schindler’s factory!! However, practically, I doubt this book will see me jetting it to the Antipodes to find the site of the Port Macquarie penal colony. And not because I didn’t enjoy the novel. I did, I thought it was marvellous.

I watched the BBC 2 drama series Banished, aired in 2015, which is set in an earlier period than this book but afforded me a strong visual connection with many of the incidents detailed in this novel. It also served to reinforce the accurate historical research that gives this story so much of its richness.

As well as being an historical novel it is also an intelligent and engrossing crime story. The first in the series the main protagonist is Hugh Monsarrat, erstwhile forger and fraudster, elevated to clerical work for the commander of the penal settlement. My research shows that the second book is already available in Australia and that an entire series is planned for Monsarrat. That’s all good news as far as I’m concerned.

Initially I found I had to reread the first few pages and I feared this book would be an arduous read! But it was a merely a case of adjusting to the style of writing which having done so was wonderful. Set in 1825 the narrative is written in the vernacular of the time so effectively you almost find yourself thinking and speaking in the same way. It’s one thing to use extensive historical research effectively in a novel, factually, but to capture the etymology of the time is skill indeed.

The narrative is tight and the plot well constructed and accessible. It is the proving of the crime rather than the solving of it that becomes key in the latter stages of the book. But the reader is subtly allowed to accompany the characters as the fiction progresses rather than remain as bibliophilic bystanders. It was refreshing to be so involved in a story so far removed from contemporary life.

The characters are substantially drawn and you warm or shrink from them as each deserves. I love it when ‘bit part’ characters are imbued with as much life as the main characters. There is some brutality in the book and the characters respond appropriately but there is also some wit, humour and warmth.

This is a solid and intelligent read. It’s story telling mainly but the history is interesting and informative. There is a comprehensive Author’s Note at the end which clarifies several points of fiction versus history.

I was delighted to received this book from Real Readers but even more delighted to actually read it. I look forward to more in the series which I believe features not only Monsarrat but Mrs. Mulrooney too. Who’s she, you ask? Go and read the book!! ( )
  shizz | Jul 20, 2017 |
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A fast-paced, witty and gripping historical crime series from Tom Keneally and his eldest daughter Meg. In the Port Macquarie penal settlement for second offenders gentleman convict Hugh Monsarrat hungers for freedom. Originally transported for forging documents passing himself off as a lawyer, he is now the trusted clerk of the settlement's commandant. His position has certain advantages, such as being able to spend time in the Government House kitchen, being supplied with outstanding cups of tea by housekeeper Hannah Mulrooney, who, despite being illiterate, is his most intelligent companion. Not long after the commandant heads off in search of a rumoured river, his beautiful wife, Honora, falls ill with a sickness the doctor is unable to identify. When Honora dies, it becomes clear she has been slowly poisoned. Monsarrat and Mrs Mulrooney suspect the commandant's second-in-command, Captain Diamond, a cruel man who shares history with Honora. Then Diamond has Mrs Mulrooney arrested for the murder. Knowing his friend will hang if she is tried, Monsarrat knows he must find the real killer. And so begins The Monsarrat Series, a fast-paced, witty and gripping series from Tom Keneally and his eldest daughter, Meg.

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