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English Passengers
English Passengers
Author: Matthew Kneale
In 1857 when Captain Illiam Quillian Kewley and his band of rum smugglers from the Isle of Man have most of their contraband confiscated by British Customs, they are forced to put their ship up for charter. The only takers are two eccentric Englishmen who want to embark for the other side of the globe. The Reverend Geoffrey Wilson believes the G...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780140285215
ISBN-10: 0140285210
Publication Date: 4/26/2001
Pages: 462
  • Currently 4.8/5 Stars.

4.8 stars, based on 2 ratings
Publisher: Gardners Books
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed English Passengers on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Exciting, tragic and often hilarious, this is an absolutely brilliant novel, told in 20 unforgettable voices. The narrative of Captain Illiam Quillian Kewley is worth the price of the book alone. You won't forget this one.
reviewed English Passengers on + 216 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Historical fiction novel set in 1857 on a ship to Tasmania.

From Publishers Weekly
The brutal hand of British imperialism provides the foundation for this broad historical swashbuckler about the English colonization of Tasmania in the early and mid-19th century. U.K. author Kneale debuts stateside with this lengthy novel of hapless smugglers, desperate convicts, simpering bureaucrats, mad vicars and displaced aborigines. The English passengers are the Reverend Wilson, a vicar determined to prove that Tasmania was the site of the original Garden of Eden, and Doctor Potter, a ruthless scientist equally determined to prove Wilson wrong and gain fame in the victory. They're on their way to Tasmania aboard the good ship Sincerity, commanded by Captain Illiam Quillian Kewley, a high-seas smuggler and rascal of renown. This is an unpleasant voyage for everyone, especially Kewley, for he has been forced to charter his ship in order to escape punishment for dodging customs duties on his illicit cargoes. Storms, pirates and foul tempers, however, are just the prelude to the hardships that await everyone when they land in Tasmania. British self-righteousness in forcing civilization and Christianity on the aborigines causes wholesale slaughter and subjugation of the islanders, and the natives are more than just restless. Wilson and Potter's overland expedition is guided by Peevay, a wily aborigine not about to knuckle under to the white man. Of course, the expedition is a bloody disaster. Murder, madness, betrayal, mutiny and shipwreck spice up the action and provide intricate plot twists with surprising and satisfying resolutions, particularly for Captain Kewley. This rich tale is told by 20 different voices skipping back and forth across the years, but somehow Kneale manages to keep the reader from becoming confused. Kneale's careful research and colorful storytelling result in an impressive epic. BOMC featured selection. (Mar.)
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reviewed English Passengers on + 109 more book reviews
Booker Prize finalist - copyright - 2000/2001

an intellectual and comic adventure tale: in 1857 a motley, quirky group set out in a ship from England for Tasmania - one a minister intent on proving the Garden of Eden was located there. Meanwhile a Tasmanian aborigine recounts his people's struggles with invading British...