The Trespassers

The Trespassers

A shipload of migrant workers flees the pandemic-stricken UK, seeking a fresh start in Australia. The Trespassers, the much-anticipated second novel by Meg Mundell, follows the story of three characters on this dramatic story...

For nine-year-old Cleary the trip promises adventure, for former nurse Billie it's a chance to put a shameful mistake behind her, while struggling school teacher Tom hopes for a brighter future. But when a crew member is murdered and people start falling gravely ill, the Steadfast descends into chaos. Trapped on the ship, the trio must join forces to survive the journey and its aftermath.

Set in the near-future but inspired in part by the true story of the Ticonderoga - a 'fever ship' full of migrant UK workers that reached Melbourne in 1852 - The Trespassers is a beguiling novel that explores the consequences of greed, the experience of exile, and the way unlikely strangers can become the people we hold dear.

When the shell-shocked survivors of the Steadfast reach their new homeland, they find themselves caught in a new limbo: kept in the dark by government officials, vilified by a fearful public, and pursued by a media short on facts and hungry for blame. But their shared ordeal has also forged unexpected bonds, as Cleary, Billie and Tom struggle to unravel what has befallen them. Who can be trusted? Where does the blame for this disaster lie? And is the danger really over?

The Trespassers explores urgent contemporary themes of migration, exile and climate change through the complexities of loyalty, friendship and segregation in a highly engaging story driven by memorable characters. It also poses tough questions about the way we treat outsiders, the murky territory between belonging and exclusion, and the companies we pay to do our dirty work.

Meg Mundell is an author, journalist and academic who migrated from New Zealand to Australia by boat in the mid-1990s. Her novel Black Glass (Scribe, 2011) was shortlisted for two Aurealis Awards, the Barbara Jefferis Award, the CAL-Scribe Fiction Prize, and the Norma K. Hemming Award. Her digital short story collection Things I Did for Money (Scribe, 2013) is used internationally as a tertiary teaching text. Meg is currently a Research Fellow in Writing and Literature at Deakin University.

The Trespassers
Author: Meg Mundell