I will go with the men when they rise. Women hunger, and women die, so women must also fight.
1820, London. Sarah McCaffrey, fleeing arrest for her part in a failed rebellion, thinks she has escaped when she finds herself aboard the Serpent, bound from London to the colony of New South Wales. But when the captain's reckless actions drive the ship into a cliff, Sarah is the sole survivor.
Adopting a false identity, Sarah determines to make a new life for herself in Sydney. She takes the first work she can find, under the formidable Molly Thistle, who has grown her late husband's business into a sprawling trade empire. As time passes, Sarah begins to see there is more than one way of changing the world"but then her past follows her across the seas ...
Meg Keneally's second solo novel is an exciting historical fiction adventure about power, sedition and survival. With a strong lead female protagonist, the novel's themes of political resistance and rebellion are rich in history but deeply relevant for today's world. This one is for fans of historical, adventure and women's fiction, in the vein of Kate Forsyth, Kate Morton, and even Clive Cussler
About the author:
Meg Keneally has always been fascinated by the ocean and history, in particular maritime history and archaeology. A former SCUBA diving instructor, Meg still spends as much time underwater as she can. Meg has worked as a public affairs officer, sub-editor, freelance feature writer, reporter, and talkback radio producer, before co-founding a financial service public relations company, which she then sold after having her first child. For more than ten years, Meg has worked in corporate affairs for listed financial services companies. She is co-author with Tom Keneally of The Monsarrat Series of historical mysteries. Fled, Meg's first solo novel, was published in 2019 by Echo Publishing. She lives in Sydney.
Author: Meg Keneally
What originally inspired the idea of The Wreck?
Meg Keneally: I've always been fascinated by the wreck of a ship called the Dunbar just outside the entrance to Sydney Harbour. At the same time, there were disperate parts of history I've been keen to write about, such as the Peterloo Massacre, the Cato Street Conspiracy and Mary Reibey. Eventually I hit on the idea of creating a character to tie all of these together.
How did you develop your approach to writing The Wreck?
Meg Keneally: There were a few themes I was very keen to explore – probably the two major ones are female leadership, and the link between oppression and extremism. I wanted to show one person's journey from being mildly disaffected, to becoming an extremist, and then to realising there are better ways to change the world, so that became Sarah's character arc, and informed my approach to writing it. I also wanted her to be led out of the darkness by another woman, which is where Molly Thistle comes in.
Meg Keneally: A lot of what I write about is based on or inspired by real people and events – I like to use historical fact as a jumping-off point to explore the individual stories of those who lived through that time. I also like to search for themes which resonate today. For example, the suppression of peaceful protest in The Wreck mirrors what we see in various parts of the world today.
What research did you do, prior to writing The Wreck?
Meg Keneally: I did a lot of reading on Peterloo, the Cato Street episode, the industrial revolution, 19th c radicals, business women in colonial Australia and so on. I also did a maritime archaeology course to help me understand more about shipwrecks.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers or artists?
Meg Keneally: Don't be afraid to just dive in and do it. Don't worry about what people will think or whether it's any good, just get the words on the page (you can always edit later). Momentum – doing something towards moving the story forward every day – is the only way to ensure you don't stall and abandon a project as big and scary as a novel.
What or who inspired your love of reading/writing?
Meg Keneally: Books have been part of my daily life for as long as I can remember, and I can't emphasise enough the importance of parents reading to their children, as my parents did for me. It's miraculous to be able to open a book and slip off into another world (especially when the real world is in such a state).
What's next, for you?
Meg Keneally: I'm writing a novel based on the life of the last queen of Tahiti – a remarkable women who fought hard for her people and culture.