Synopsis: 'Thirteen-year-old Barnaby Fletch is a bag-and-bones orphan in London in the late 1700s.
Barnaby lives on his wits and ill-gotten gains, on streets seething with the press of the throng and shadowed by sinister figures. Life is a precarious business.
When he hears of a paradise on the other side of the world – a place called Botany Bay – he decides to commit a crime and get himself transported to a new life, a better life.
To succeed, he must survive the trials of Newgate Prison, the stinking hull of a prison ship and the unknown terrors of a journey across the world.
And Botany Bay is far from the paradise Barnaby has imagined. When his past and present suddenly collide, he is soon fleeing for his life – once again.'
‘South of Darkness’ tells of a young boy's experiences in London in the late 1700’s and of his voyage as a convict to Australia. This novel is a fictional account of Barnaby Fletch although John Marsden does give an authentic account of life during those times, especially for the unfortunate ones. While there is not as much action as the ‘Tomorrow series’ and less dialogue, the narrative is an enjoyable one. I love reading about early Australian history and this version is another to add to my growing list of enjoyable reads. The problem with this novel is that Barnaby’s story has not finished and now I have to wait to see if there is to be a series made of his life. I feel from the ending that more novels are forthcoming from Mr Marsden.
‘South of Darkness’ is a tale of survival, hope and adventure.
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