The incredible true story of one of the most extraordinary and inspirational prison breaks in history.
Boston, 1869. Members of the Clan na Gael - agitators for an Irish republic - hatch a daring plan to free six Irish political prisoners from the most remote gaol on earth, Fremantle Prison in Western Australia. Under the guise of a whale hunt, Captain Anthony sets sail on the Catalpa, risking his life to rescue the men from the prison, known among the inmates as 'a living tomb'. What follows is one of history's greatest escape stories - a tale of courage and cunning that stands as an enormously significant event in the histories of no fewer than four nations.
Americans were drawn to the story from the first, most particularly to its climactic moment. When the six escaped prisoners are found to be aboard an American whaler - The Catalpa.
For Ireland, who had suffered English occupation for 700 years, a successful escape would be a call to arms. It would show the English that people capable of launching an escape on the other side of the world, really would stop at nothing. For the English the humiliation of an escape would mean the "Irish question" would not go away.
And for the young Australia, the Catalpa Rescue was a demonstration that those seeking independence for their own country could triumph, that Great Britain was not unbeatable.
Told with FitzSimons' trademark pace and verve, The Catalpa Rescue is a true story that has it all: adventure, politics, morality, colonialism, the fight for independence and, most importantly, the triumph of good men, against all odds.
Peter FitzSimons is Australia's bestselling non-fiction writer, and for the past 30 years has also been a journalist and columnist with the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD and the SUN-HERALD.
He is the author of a number of highly successful books, including BURKE AND WILLS, MONASH'S MASTERPIECE, KOKODA, NED KELLY and GALLIPOLI, as well as biographies of such notable Australians as Sir Douglas Mawson, Nancy Wake and Nick Farr-Jones. His passion is to tell Australian stories, our own stories: of great men and women, of stirring events in our history.
Peter grew up on a farm north of Sydney, went to boarding school in Sydney and attended Sydney University. An ex-Wallaby, he also lived for several years in rural France and Italy, playing rugby for regional clubs. He and his wife Lisa Wilkinson - journalist, magazine editor and television presenter - have three children; they live in Sydney.