How would you respond if your death sentence was commuted to life on an island prison half a world away?
Starting amongst the smog-laden streets of Victorian London, experience the life and times of Robert Bright and Mary Ann Goulding; real people caught up in the hopelessness of an unequal, class-ridden society who fight back as the new nation of Australia is forged.
The Helots’ Tale, Downfall – is part 1 of a deeply-researched two-part novel that transports the reader back in time, weaving intriguingly amongst the real people and real events of an age when the British Empire was in full flow. It describes the adventures of two of the 160,000 souls transported to the new world colonies of Australia in the 1800s.
If you have enjoyed the novels of Charles Dickens you will be interested in more than one reviewer’s comments such as: “many echoes of Dickens in the detail, language and well-researched background of this story” and other reviews:
★★★★★ “I couldn’t put it down”
★★★★★ “Fascinating and very well researched”
★★★★★ “Wonderfully descriptive narrative makes for a most immersive and engaging reading experience”
Did they beat the system?
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Richard Butts (NetGalley Reviewer) –
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
A nonfiction novel based on real people. It starts in London but the characters are destined to live their lives in Australia. The two protagonists Robert Bright and Mary Ann Goulding are part of the very poor class of England who are transported to Australia for crimes they are forced to commit to survive. The Helots Tale- Book 1, Downfall is written by a family member David Cairns.
Robert is quite a rambunctious young child who grows up to become out a farm hand. He is quite impulsive and ends up in jail a number of times. He finally crosses a line when he commits a larger crime for which he is sentenced to seven years transportation. Mary Ann on the other hand grows up in a family where she is quite well behaved but they’re extremely poor. Because of the poor circumstances Maryann moves into town to save her parents the hassle of providing for her. She meets two girls who are stealing items at the local market for extra income. She and her two friends are finally caught stealing at the local market and are sentenced to seven years transportation. This story describes life in England at that time as well as the journey to Australia and what happens when they arrive.
The story is very interesting because it does show the dichotomy between the very rich of England and the very poor. The rich are allowed to abuse the poor. Then they send the poor to prison because they have created a society where the poor have to commit crimes just to survive.
The various characters in the story are extremely interesting because they’re not really bad people. They are poor people difficult circumstances and they often end up going to prison or being hanged for just trying to get food for their family.
I recommend this story to anyone who likes historical fiction and they want to learn more of the origins of the people who were transported to Australia. I give the story of four and five. And I want to thank NetGalley and Finavon for providing me with a digital copy of this book. I give this review voluntarily.
Polly Krize – (NetGalley Reviewer) –
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
At the beginning of the 19th century, shipped out from Newgate Prison in London, Mary Ann Goulding and Robert Bright find themselves basically slaves in Van Diemen’s Land and New South Wales. Their survival depends on their wits and strength in this new world. Well written, and I anticipate the next volume.
Sandip Mondol – (NetGalley Reviewer) –
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
This is an amazing book. This book everything is good. The author did an amazing work to publish this kind of book. Also this book is a helpful books. I really happy to read it. Everyone need to must listen this book. I want to recommended this book for all book reader. Thank you so much.