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The Lieutenant by Kate Grenville

The Lieutenant (original 2008; edition 2010)

by Kate Grenville

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6005516,314 (3.72)161
Title:The Lieutenant
Authors:Kate Grenville
Info:Grove Press (2010), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library, To read
Tags:fiction, women writers, own, TBR, RR mooch (Laura), Australia, historical fiction, favorite authors

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The Lieutenant by Kate Grenville (2008)



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Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
(21) This was quickly read historical fiction based on one of the first penal settlements in Australia and based on a true story of one officer's relationship with the aboriginal people. I read 'The Secret River' by the same author several years ago and while I don't remember it in detail, this story had very similar themes as well as setting. White men and their colonization and cruelty of new lands with native people in them.

I enjoyed the character of Rooke and his early dealings with the Cadigal people. I think Rooke was fairly well-drawn but his introspections travelled the same paths to often and I wanted to see him interact with others more often. I thought the dialogue was good and the book was more engaging and authentic in the characters interactions. The astronomy musings were not as powerful as I think they were meant to be and the ending dragged on. While I think Grenville wanted to be true to the life of the real Lieutenant upon which the story was based - we knew too little of Rooke's life post New South Wales for the ending to be satisfying.

A decent read, but it did not feel particularly original or different from a story that has been told many times before in different ways about different places around the globe that have been 'discovered' and colonized by Western society. I've grown a bit weary of the tale from this perspective. ( )
  jhowell | Apr 26, 2017 |
This is one of those deceptive books that seem easy and short but are actually deep and provoking. It tells the story of a young naval officer (based on a real person) who travels to Australia (New South Wales at the time) in the late 18th century and connects with the Aboriginal people, one young woman in particular, over language and culture. The book has profound things to say about the passage of time, empathy, and language. My sense is that it will linger with me for long time. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
The Lieutenant by Kate Grenville is the second in her Thornhill trilogy although there was no connection between this book and the first, other than the setting of the penal colony established in Botany Bay, Australia in the late 1700’s. Despite being barely 300 pages in length, these pages are overflowing with the story of a young man who dreams of the stars but enlists in His Majesty’s marines. In 1788, Lieutenant Daniel Rooke lands with the First Fleet and a cargo of prisoners on the shores of Sydney Cove.

As the astronomer for the colony, Rooke receives permission to live alone on the cliffs and sets up an observatory overlooking the bay. He takes his readings and enjoys his solitude away from the regulated life of a soldier. He befriends the natives that come by and soon develops a strong friendship with one young girl. But relationships between the Aboriginals and the British are tricky and to his great sadness, he is assigned to go out on a patrol whose assignment is to capture or kill six natives in retaliation for the death of one of the governor’s hunters. Rooke must now make a life decision as to whether he is simply a lieutenant in his majesty’s service or is he an independent human with feelings and a moral center that knows the difference between humanity or blindly following orders.

Loosely based on actual events and people, The Lieutenant is a simple story but wonderfully written. As our main character embarks on his voyage of self-discovery the reader can’t help but be full of admiration at the man he becomes and how, knowing the punishment he could be facing, he confronts his dilemma and makes the only choice that he can live with. ( )
1 vote DeltaQueen50 | Jun 9, 2016 |
3.5 stars - interesting and thought-provoking, set in the early days of Sydney Cove. ( )
  SabinaE | Jan 23, 2016 |
Australian author Kate Grenville, in "The Lieutenant," has fashioned a loose companion-piece to the powerful and award-winning "The Secret River," and in the process has shown an impressive versatility: Not only can she paint convincingly on a large canvas, as in "Secret River," can also do great justice with a smaller, more intimate narrative. "The Lieutenant" is marvelous.

Our laudable author imagines the events which change Lieutenant Daniel Rooke’s life. An officer in His Majesty King George III’s Marines, Rooke sails to New South Wales aboard the flagship of Britain’s first fleet to land and settle permanently. He travels with the reference and recommendation of the royal astronomer, and sees nothing but the grand vistas of new worlds and new opportunity. He chooses, however, to follow his own conscience at a moral crossroads, and it changes his life forever.

"The Lieutenant" is full of closely-observed thought processes and the internal dialogue of its hero, and we have absolutely no trouble believing it. Based on events in a real officer’s life, Ms. Grenville’s imagining is a triumph – realistic, understanding, compassionate, vivid. The pivotal events in the man’s life don’t need a long exposition, and don’t get any more than is absolutely necessary. This economical treatment accomplishes exactly what it needs to – this tale could very easily be over-told or under-told. This author hits it in the sweet spot.

This holds its place as a companion-piece to "The Secret River" because of the temporal and geographic proximity, but has not been set up as a prequel. I’m intrigued by its relationship to "Secret River" and quite looking forward to "Sarah Thornhill," the third book in the trilogy. Take up The Lieutenant and travel with its hero, see his place in history, and feel his anguish as he searches his soul during a timeless conflict. Recommended very highly.

http://bassoprofundo1.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-lieutenant-by-kate-grenville.html ( )
  LukeS | Oct 22, 2013 |
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Dedicated to Patyegarang and the Cadigal people
and William Dawes.
Their story inspired this work of fiction.
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Daniel Rooke was quiet, moody, a man of few words.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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A gripping story about friendship, self-discovery, and the power of language, set along the unspoiled shores of 1788 New South Wales.

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Canongate Books

2 editions of this book were published by Canongate Books.

Editions: 1847673449, 1847673473

Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 1921351780, 1921520485, 192165676X

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