Cover art for Preservation
Text Publishing, November 2018


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On a beach not far from the isolated settlement of Sydney, a fishing boat picks up three shipwreck survivors, distressed and terribly injured. They have walked hundreds of miles across a landscape whose features-and inhabitants-they have no way of comprehending.

They have lost fourteen companions along the way. Their accounts of the ordeal are evasive. It is Lieutenant Joshua Grayling's task to investigate the story. Gradually he comes to realise that those fourteen deaths were contrived by one calculating mind. And as the full horror of the men's journey emerges, he begins to wonder whether the ruthless killer now at large in the infant colony poses a danger to his own family.

Recommended by Barb Sampson

Barb takes care of the web orders here at Boffins, and is your contact for book club enquiries. She spends all her spare time curled up on the couch reading and for the last several years has reviewed books on the Afternoon Program on ABC radio Perth.

A devastating tale of murder and survival based on the true story of a 19th century shipwreck in Bass Strait, Preservation is a great read for lovers of historical Australian fiction. The obvious comparison is The North Water  by Ian McGuire. Both stories are page turners, take place in extreme (though very different) settings, and have at their core a repulsive and evil character who mesmerises the reader. The historical context, particularly the meeting of indigenous and settler cultures, adds another (often devastating) layer to what is a gripping read.

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