Preservation
On a beach not far from the isolated settlement of Sydney in 1797, a fishing boat picks up three shipwreck survivors, distressed and terribly injured. They have walked hundreds of miles across a landscape whose features—and inhabitants—they have no way of comprehending. They have lost fourteen companions along the way. Their accounts of the ordeal are evasive.It is Lieutenant Joshua Grayling’s task to investigate the story. He comes to realise that those fourteen deaths were contrived by one calculating mind and, as the full horror of the men’s journey emerges, he begins to wonder whether the ruthless killer poses a danger to his own family.

Preservation Details

TitlePreservation
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 29th, 2018
PublisherText Publishing
ISBN-139781925773125
Rating
GenreMystery, Historical, Historical Fiction, Thriller, Crime

Preservation Review

  • Text Publishing
    January 1, 1970
    Text Publishing has 20 advance reading copies to give away to ANZ readers. Enter now for your chance to win! Just PM us with your full name, address and 'Preservation giveaway' in the subject line to enter. Competition closes 1 October 2018. Good luck!‘Serong’s prose is evocative, his dialogue convincing.’Sydney Morning Herald‘Serong is a talented storyteller.’Booklist‘One of Australia’s most innovative and ambitious crime writers.’NZ Listener
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  • Marianne
    January 1, 1970
    Preservation is the fourth novel by Award-winning Australian author, Jock Serong. From the archive of a newspaper named The Asiatic Mirror, we know that a tri-masted country trader, the Sydney Cove, filled with goods including quite a lot of rum, left Calcutta in November of 1796, headed for New South Wales on a speculative venture, and was wrecked on Preservation Island in Bass Strait in early 1797. One of those on board, William Clark wrote an incomplete diary, extracts of which were quoted in Preservation is the fourth novel by Award-winning Australian author, Jock Serong. From the archive of a newspaper named The Asiatic Mirror, we know that a tri-masted country trader, the Sydney Cove, filled with goods including quite a lot of rum, left Calcutta in November of 1796, headed for New South Wales on a speculative venture, and was wrecked on Preservation Island in Bass Strait in early 1797. One of those on board, William Clark wrote an incomplete diary, extracts of which were quoted in said newspaper. Serong takes the bare bones of these facts and fleshes them out.After the wrecking, seventeen men take the longboat, intending to reach Sydney and initiate a rescue of the remaining crew and salvage of the rum cargo. Mere days later this boat, too, is wrecked, and the men, with what goods they have been able to recover, head on foot for Sydney, some five hundred and fifty miles. Not quite three months later, three survivors are picked up by a fishing boat just south of Sydney. On Governor Hunter’s instruction, Lieutenant Joshua Grayling questions two of the survivors: William Clark, who is supercargo for the shipping company; and Mr Figge, who purports to be a representative of a tea merchant. Srinivas, a Bengali lascar, is Clark’s manservant and assumed to speak no English. Charlotte Grayling listens to her husband’s account of the interrogation of the survivors, asking pertinent questions and offering insightful observations. Each of these five distinct narratives is denoted by its own apt icon both at each start and beside the page count.It soon becomes apparent that each of these survivors is not being entirely forthcoming, and that Clark’s journal does not give the full facts, even where the facts recorded are actually true. What they are hiding, and why, becomes the object of Grayling’s interviews with the men.Serong’s characters are much more than one-dimensional, and he gives some of them perceptive reflections: “…not only do they have the run of the land, the miles that might stretch between one man and another, but they put their homes where they want them for the seasons. To be rich, I had thought until then, was a walled place. But now I wondered if being rich meant not needing the wall.” Serong’s depiction of the attitudes of the white settlers to the indigenous people is realistic.Serong states in his Author’s Note “Perhaps all of this is history, and none of it” so the reader will understand that not all the of the story that follows may align strictly with known facts. But his imagining is both fascinating and eminently believable. He includes three very useful maps and the depth of his research is apparent on every page. Once again, an utterly brilliant read!
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  • Joanne
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Text publishing for my free copy. I have never read this author before. Firstly fantastic I was thoroughly enthralled but couple of times I wander off from a slow pace of story telling. Overall though a very intriguing story (the actual event of the wreck of the ship the Sydney Cove) with good characters and some creepy ones. I was a bit sceptical with reading Australian history, only because I have been sucked in before thinking it would be a fairly even playing field only to discover Thanks to Text publishing for my free copy. I have never read this author before. Firstly fantastic I was thoroughly enthralled but couple of times I wander off from a slow pace of story telling. Overall though a very intriguing story (the actual event of the wreck of the ship the Sydney Cove) with good characters and some creepy ones. I was a bit sceptical with reading Australian history, only because I have been sucked in before thinking it would be a fairly even playing field only to discover it was simply a book to reinforce colonialism and colonial history. Thankfully this book does not do this. As you would expect there is racism etc but that was the attitude of the time, my only concern it will continue to maintain those attitudes. However if readers read this novel with a good history mystery/ thriller in mind then I dare say you will enjoy as I did.
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  • Ystyn Francis
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Text Publishing for an advance copy of this excellent novel. After being blown away by Jock Serong's "The Rules of Backyard Cricket" - my favourite book of 2016 - I quickly devoured "On the Java Ridge" when it was released before heading back to where it all began by reading his Ned Kelly Award-winning debut novel, "Quota". What has impressed me most about Serong, including his newest novel "Preservation", is how all four books are about such vastly different worlds and the vastly d Thank you to Text Publishing for an advance copy of this excellent novel. After being blown away by Jock Serong's "The Rules of Backyard Cricket" - my favourite book of 2016 - I quickly devoured "On the Java Ridge" when it was released before heading back to where it all began by reading his Ned Kelly Award-winning debut novel, "Quota". What has impressed me most about Serong, including his newest novel "Preservation", is how all four books are about such vastly different worlds and the vastly different characters who populate them. The level and depth of research is clear on every page, and the social commentary is insightful and thought-provoking. "Preservation's" era, so close to the initial landing of the First Fleet, is a unique setting for an engaging and informative narrative which should become canonical over time. If the Queensland senior high school English program wasn't moving to a set text list next year, I would seriously consider using it (and "On the Java Ridge") as fascinating texts for students to study.
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  • Made
    January 1, 1970
    I had loved The Rules of Backyard Cricket so I got pretty excited when I found out I won a copy of Preservation (thank you Text Publishing!) and it didn't disappoint. Cleverly constructed, an interesting mix of characters (possibly the most despicable man in literature in Mr Figge)... you'll struggle to put it down.
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  • Jane
    January 1, 1970
    A well written and thought provoking fictional account of an historical shipwreck off Australia. As a lover of historical fiction, this certainly did not disappoint, full of detail and information. It was easy to lose yourself in the places the characters were (bush or Sydney town). This book is now joining my husband's 'to read' pile. Thank you to Text Publishing for this copy.
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  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Text Publishing for the free copy. I was very eager to read this book having been riveted by Serong's last book, On the Java Ridge.Preservation tells the story of the Sydney Cove, which was lost between what is now Tasmania and Victoria, in 1797, and the journey made by some of the survivors to Sydney. Serong takes the few known facts of that journey and imagines what more could have gone unwritten in the history books. Brilliantly researched and with beautiful descriptions of Aust Thank you to Text Publishing for the free copy. I was very eager to read this book having been riveted by Serong's last book, On the Java Ridge.Preservation tells the story of the Sydney Cove, which was lost between what is now Tasmania and Victoria, in 1797, and the journey made by some of the survivors to Sydney. Serong takes the few known facts of that journey and imagines what more could have gone unwritten in the history books. Brilliantly researched and with beautiful descriptions of Australia and the survivors' encounters with Indigenous Australians, it was an enjoyable book but I was somewhat disappointed with the ending - a little too much left unexplained for my liking. Three and a half stars.
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