The complexity of connections between Aborigines and Europeans, convicts and jailers, alike victims of their conjunction, are rendered with empathy for misunderstanding, inequality and their costs. The Keneallys have done a great deal of able and unobtrusive research. With The Soldier’s Curse Monsarrat is fairly launched into what promises to be both a troubling future for him and a sure entertainment for readers.
Peter Pierce, The Australian
A series that promises to add a new dimension to the Australian crime scene at the same time as it explores the forces that have shaped a nation. Things can only get more interesting.
Sue Turnbull, The Sydney Morning Herald
The Booker Prize has long been blind to the merits of genre fiction, as we all (angrily) know, but maybe they’ll notice with a previous winner in the mix: here’s Tom ‘Schindler’s Ark’ Keneally and his daughter and co-writer Meg’s colonial crime fiction series, led by the dashing yet unfortunate Hugh Llewelyn Monsarrat, dapper in his waistcoat but sadly imprisoned in a penal settlement for second offenders. His position as clerk affords him some luxuries, including a good reputation and the opportunity for cups of tea with his housekeeper friend Mrs Mulrooney – until she is accused of poisoning the Commandant’s wife. Keen to free his friend, Monsarrat is on the case, and it’s such a smartly funny, cleverly researched tale that we should all be jolly glad of it, to be quite honest.
Fiona Hardy, Readings Monthly
I really enjoyed the first of a projected 'Monsarrat trilogy' and so i hope Keneally and his daughter are hard at work.
Viki, Gleebooks Gleaner
Readers can feel totally confident in the veracity of the convict-era setting of The Soldier’s Curse. Although Booker laureate Tom needs no introduction, it’s worth remembering he has an outstanding pedigree writing historical fiction ... He is also highly adept at distilling elements of the Australian personality – both mythical and real. These considerable skills bear fruit as he and Meg depict the infant township of Port Macquarie ... But the real joy of the novel is its protagonist. Monsarrat is both believable and likeable, and in many ways the perfect amateur gentleman detective for the colony of New South Wales. [He] straddles mythology and reality. He has the knowledge and background of a lettered gentleman, the guile and cunning of a convict, and the adventurous flaw (the shadow Monsarrat) that gives him the verve to tackle a mystery.
Newtown Review of Books
The Soldier's Curse successfully weaves literary, historical and crime fiction together in a very engaging package. There is at least one more book featuring Hugh Monsarrat and Hannah Mulrooney coming our way and I must say I can’t wait. Engaging characters, fascinating period details and the thoughtful exploration of sociopolitical themes is more than enough to have me coming back for more.