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A fantastic epic of a book, well researched and dealing with many if not all aspects of the life of the convicts sent to New South Wales. The protagonist's mental and physical development throughout the book is nothing short of spectacular, overcoming past grief to become one of the leading members of his society. I also recommend reading "An account of the English colony in New South Wales" by David Collins, a purely historical account of the settlement based mostly on the papers of Lieutenant King, which helps to give some background to the history behind the story. The book is less of a romance and more of a historical novel, although some elements of the genre still remain.