THE LIEUTENANT by KATE GRENVILLE.
As a boy, Daniel Rooke was always an outsider. At school he learned to hide his clever thoughts from his cruel peers; at hoe his parents were bemused by their bookish soon. Daniel could only hope - against all the evidence - that he would one day find his place in life.
By 1788, Daniel has become Lieutenant Rooke, astronomer with the First Fleet as it lands on the unknown shores of New South Wales. As the newcomers struggle to establish a settlement for themselves and their cargo of convicts and attempts are made to communicate with those who who already inhabit this land, Rooke sets up his observatory to chart the stars.
But the place where they have landed will prove far more revelatory than the night sky. Out on his isolated point, Rooke comes to know the Aboriginal people, and forges a remarkable connection with one child, which will change his life i ways he never imagined.
....... Inner front cover.
FIRST SENTENCE: (Chapter 1): Daniel Rooke was quiet, moody, a man of few words.
MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 162): How odd it was that he should finally learn how to play the fool, and become the child he had never been in his childhood, in the company of these three children with whom he shared hardly a word.
MY THOUGHTS: Not a book I enjoyed. Personally I longed for this to be more of a 'human interest story' about relationships and less of a story, no matter how interesting, about astronomy and Daniel's unravelling of the native language.
Sectioned into what was effectively three parts I really struggled with the first part which dealt mainly with Daniel's childhood in England as it felt as if I wasn't reading a story so much as reading a list of notes the author had jotted down to remind herself of where she intended to go with the story.
The rest of the book, the second portion (set in Australia), the third (the latter part of Daniel's life in Antigua) fared a little better but overall I was disappointed in that the author never seemed to delve too deeply into any of the issues raised but rather seemed to take the reader right to the brink of something deep and meaningful only to shy away at the last moment.
Not at all what I was expecting from this novel, at heart I think it had some really important things to say and yet everything about it, both plot and characters, seemed to be totally underdeveloped and woefully lacking.
KEEP IT OR NOT?: A readers group read I do not intend to buy a copy of this.
NB. Though this is a work of fiction as was explained in the Author's Notes it was inspired by recorded events