The Lieutenant

The Lieutenant


By (author) Kate Grenville

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  • Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press
  • Format: Hardback | 307 pages
  • Dimensions: 145mm x 211mm x 30mm | 476g
  • Publication date: 8 September 2009
  • Publication City/Country: New York, NY
  • ISBN 10: 0802119166
  • ISBN 13: 9780802119162
  • Sales rank: 250,012

Product description

A stunning follow-up to her Commonwealth Writers' Prize-winning book, The Secret River, Kate Grenville's The Lieutenant is a gripping story about friendship, self-discovery, and the power of language set along the unspoiled shores of 1788 New South Wales. As a boy, Daniel Rooke was always an outsider. Ridiculed in school and misunderstood by his parents, Daniel could only hope, against all the evidence, that he would one day find his place in life. When he joins the marines and travels to New South Wales as a lieutenant on the First Fleet, Daniel finally sees his chance for a new beginning. As his countrymen struggle to control their cargo of convicts and communicate with those who already inhabit the land, Daniel constructs an observatory to chart the stars and begin the scientific work he prays will make him famous. But the place where they have landed will prove far more revelatory than the night sky. Out on his isolated point, Daniel comes to intimately know the local Aborigines and forges a remarkable connection with one young girl, Tagaran, that will forever change the course of his life. As the strained coexistence between the Englishmen and the native tribes collapses into violence, Daniel is forced to decide between dedication to his work, allegiance to his country, and his protective devotion to Tagaran and her people. Inspired by the notebooks of British astronomer William Dawes, The Lieutenant is a remarkable story about the poignancy and emotional power of a friendship that defies linguistic and cultural barriers, and shows one ordinary man that he is capable of exceptional courage.

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Review quote

"Grenville's portrait of the obtuse yet engaging Rooke and her descriptions of this strange territory are marvelously evocative. . . . The fragility of the encounters [between Rooke and Tagaran] further heightens the suspense that Grenville so deftly sustains. Tragedy looms, of course, just outside the delicate frame of this elegiac novel, but Grenville allows us to marvel at 'one universe in the act of encountering another' even as we dread the inevitable result."--Anna Mundow, "The Boston Globe" "[A] richly imagined portrait of a deeply introspective, and quite remarkable, man."--Alison McCulloch, "The New York Times Book Review" "Exquisite . . . Grenville has created a magnificent work of fiction that encompasses the excitement of adventure, the thrill of discovery, the mysteries of the unknown, the ambiguity of relationships and the ethical and moral dilemma of choosing between duty to country or to mankind."--Corinna Lothar, "The Washington Times" "A prescriptive plea for cultural understanding [that] draws revelatory connections between emotional empathy and scientific discovery. . . . The crisp prose of "The Lieutenant "[often] approaches poetry . . . [and] compels as a historical novel exploring the sins of Australia's colonial past, an admirable testament to the necessity that the West learn to appreciate rather than condemn the Other. But Grenville's most thrilling achievement is to filter that lesson in social acceptance through the computational consciousness of a man whose head is in the stars."--Bill Marx, "Los Angeles Times" "What differentiates "The Lieutenant" from "The Secret River" is a surprising and refreshing theme of belonging and connectivity. Present are Grenville's consistent abilities to understand and re-birth history into a contextual narrative, but here those skills coalesce into an overarching message: 'Everything is part of every other thing, now and forever.' . . . Understanding and meaning [can be] foundl