This profoundly moving novel Grenville returns to the landscape of Kate Grenville's much-loved bestseller, The Secret River
Daniel Rooke, soldier and astronomer, was always an outsider. As a young lieutenant of marines he arrives in New South Wales on the First Fleet in 1788 and sees his chance. He sets up his observatory away from the main camp, and begins the scientific work that he hopes will make him famous.
Aboriginal people soon start to visit his isolated promontory, and a child named Tagaran begins to teach him her language. With meticulous care he records their conversations. An extraordinary friendship forms, and Rooke has almost forgotten he is a soldier when a man is fatally wounded in the infant colony.
The lieutenant faces a decision that will define not only who he is but the course of his entire life.
Inspired by the notebooks of William Dawes, The Lieutenant is a compelling story about friendship and self-discovery by a writer at the peak of her powers.
‘It glows with life: imaginative in its recreations, respectful of what cannot be imagined, and thoughtful in its interrogation of the past…The Lieutenant is also Grenville’s most intellectually sophisticated novel to date.‘ Kerryn Goldsworthy, Age
‘An extraordinary adventure into the nature of language, culture and human communication. It is also a thrilling alternative history of modern Australia’s beginnings…Grenville’s great victory in this book is to show us that language is so much more than vocabulary or even grammar and syntax…Grenville’s writing is so clear as to be transparent…All in all, an epiphanous book, her best, I think.’ Listener
Kate Grenville is one of Australia’s finest writers. Her bestselling novel The Secret River has been published in more than twenty countries. It has received numerous awards, including the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Miles Franklin Literary Award. The companion memoir, Searching for the Secret River, was released in 2006.
The Idea of Perfection won Britain’s prestigious Orange Prize for Fiction, and her other novels include Sarah Thornhill, The Lieutenant, Lilian’s Story, Dark Places and Joan Makes History.
As well as her novels and a collection of short stories, Grenville has published three books about the writing process, one co-written with novelist Sue Woolfe. The Writing Book, Writing From Start to Finish and Making Stories have become classics both for writing classes and individuals. Grenville has also written a memoir, Searching for The Secret River, an account of the research and writing of the novel for which she’s best-known.
The Lieutenant, The Secret River, and her most recent novel, Sarah Thornhill together make up The Colonial Trilogy, novels which explore Australia’s often troubled past.
Grenville was born in Sydney and has lived in the UK, France and the USA. She has been awarded many honours, including an Honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of NSW. For many years she taught Creative Writing in universities, but she now writes full-time. In her leisure hours she enjoys attempting to play the cello in an amateur orchestra and a string quartet. She lives in Sydney with her family.