A dramatic story based on the historical fact of Point Puer, the boys' prison at Port Arthur, Tasmania.
A boy convict, Edward Britton, 17, is the main character. He is good-looking, literate and well educated compared to the other boys, and has been a Shakespearian child actor in London. He was transported for stealing from the acting troupe's kitty. He attracts the attention of the daughter of the brutal Point Puer Commandant and a love affair develops. The girl's stepmother is jealous and makes Edward's life hell. A subplot revolves around an Irish convict boy, Izod, whose parents were killed by British troops during the food riots of the potato famine. Reduced to theft to survive, he was transported for stealing food. To his amazement, the Commandant is the same British Officer who killed his parents back in Ireland. He has a deep-seated hatred of the British generally and the Commandant in particular, and he plots revenge.
The theme is study of tyrannical power which can be wielded by adults (and sometimes other children) who are placed in authority over the most disempowered, helpless and exploited members of society - the children.
Gary Crew writes short stories, novels and picture books. Gary is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland. He is particularly interested in researching the creative links between fiction and nonfiction in his novels and the creative interface between print text and visual text in his picture books. During his publishing career of over 30 years Gary has won the Children's Book Council of Australia's Book of the Year four times, twice for novels and twice for his picture books; the New South Wales Premier's Award, the Victorian Premier's Award, the American Children's Book of Distinction, the Aurealis Best Children's Short Fiction, the Wilderness Society's Award for Environmental Writing, and the Royal Geographic Society Whitley Award. Gary lives on the waterfront of subtropical Bribie Island. When he is not writing or lecturing, he loves to walk by the sea or read.