Winner of the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction, Kate Grenville’s The Lieutenant
a stunning follow-up to her Commonwealth Writers’ Prize winning book, The Secret River
is a gripping story about friendship, self-discovery, and the power of language 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 enters the marines and travels to Australia
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 immediately 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 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.