The Emancipist: An Unforgettable Epic of Australia

Veronica Geoghegan Sweeney, Author Simon & Schuster $19.45 (1048p) ISBN 978-0-671-60209-3
The hero of this massive first novel set in 19th century Ireland and Australia islike the story itselffiery-spirited, credible, compelling. Convicted of ""agrarian outrages'' during Ireland's Great Famine, Aidan O'Brien is transported to Tasmania, after losing Anna (the girl he loves) to his landlord and marrying another woman. He endures the brutal life of the penal colony, survives escape and recapture and, as a convict laborer, learns to be a shipbuilder. He also falls in love with a girl who reminds him of Anna. After Aidan's sentence is served, he sends to Ireland for his cold wife and independent-minded children; they move to New South Wales, where, free from the stigma of being an ``emancipist'' (ex-convict), Aidan prospers. This saga captures, through the lives of Aidan's family, friends, associates and enemies, the horrors of rural Ireland in the 1840s and the vigor of youthful Australia. Sweeney's grasp of social history is as authentic as her portrayal of human passion; she is clearly a novelist to watch. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club alternates. Foreign rights: Pan Books. January 7
Reviewed on: 01/01/1985
Release date: 01/01/1985
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-380-70194-0
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