A convict colony in New South Wales, Australia is the setting for Carol Birch's new novel, based on real events. Now out in paperback, Birch proves once again that she is a born storyteller.
This is the story of Margaret Catchpole, born into a smugglers' world in Suffolk in the late 1700s.
As the valued servant of a wealthy family and a friend of criminals, Margaret leads a double life that inevitably brings about her downfall and she is sentenced to hang not once, but twice. But she escapes the gallows and is transported with other convicts to Australia.
A wonderful adventure story, SCAPEGALLOWS takes inspiration from the life of the real Margaret Catchpole. A woman who lived by her wits, she was a slip-gibbet, a scapegallows.
** 'Birch deftly tells a story spanning several decades, with an intensity that is . . . lyrical . . . . and evokes the period without compromising her complex diachronic concerns - TLS ** '[Birch has] a first class voice . . . An exciting and evocative fictional version of the life of Margaret Catchpole . . . The novel is a trium
SUNDAY TIMES - ** 'Birch deftly tells a story spanning several decades, with an intensity that is . . . lyrical . . . . and evokes the period without compromising he
TLS - ** 'A rich portrait of a shadowy world of 18th century sailors and smugglers, full of characters both charming and fatally flawed. Fans of Margaret At
PSYCHOLOGIES - ** 'Birch is a naturally literary writer who can, with a simple image, evoke the deepest emotion'
Carol Birch was born in 1951 in Manchester and went to Keele University. She has lived in London, southwest Ireland and now Lancaster. For her first novel, LIFE IN THE PALACE, she won the 1988 David Higham Award for the Best First Novel of the Year. In 1991 she won the prestigious Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize with THE FOG LINE.