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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Having read all but two of her books, I am still an avid Colleen McCullough fan, after having just completed her latest, "Morgan's Run." I have never been disappointed in anything she has written, for this author has a rare gift for both seeing into the depths of the human soul, understanding all the sociological, anthropological, medical and legal aspects of the history she so fastidiously studies to present us with these flawless books. The Masters of Rome series is the most insightful and thorough work I have read on that era in human history, and I was a bit resentful when the final volume was set aside to write this book first. However, now that she promises it will be two volumes to complete that series, I am happier again. With this book I had the same feeling that I always experience with her writing: "It can't stop here...I want more of the ongoing story as only she can tell it!" So her closing promise that we would learn more of Richard Morgan and Norfolk Island really gladdened my heart. Perhaps the majority of us knew little of the terrible experiment that created the penal colony of Australia, and nothing of this tiny island, and we can now appreciate more fully the strength of those castaways who created such flourishing new colonies. Thank you, Colleen McCullough, for some of the best reading I have ever enjoyed. Keep them coming!
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
At the pagecount 220, when Richard Morgan is surprised at his own eloquence, I am caught in surprise at hers, although I ought not be. For I have known her work these two decades, and there is none better now writing in the English tongue.
Colleen McCollough has both a voice and an ear; when she writes, you can hear her characters, and what she writes, you can her own voice, her own very active mind at work -- and at play. When I first read The Thorn Birds, what surprised me most was her voice; it was the first time I ever read a writer that didn't write in American English or even British English, her syntax and rhythms had an element all its own, it was my introduction to a distinctive AUSTRALIAN English (this was the mid-70's, before even Crocodile Dundee, after all).
Once again, she hits the nail right on the head with Morgan's Run. It's exciting to read, you fly right through the book. What amazes me, though, is the level of research she does for every page she writes. You can tell just from the maps and illustrations in each one of her books she's done her homework, and made it so interesting, to boot.
When I read CREED FOR THE THIRD MILLENNIUM, I wound up infuriated by it. After reading Creed, I realized how tired I was of people following or searching for "a philosophy worth dying for." What I wanted was a philosphy worth living for. Richard Morgan is, in many ways, the opposite number to that novel's J.C. -- he puts his nonverbalized view of life into practice, into action, and Colleen McCollough takes you along on his journey.
There are many sly little touches tossed off throughout. Early on, one of the characters uses the phrase, "The die is cast", which was attributed to Caeser as he crossed the Rubicon; yet, in CAESAR, she suggests an alternate translation of the phrase, "Let the dice fly", which is more in keeping with that books themes and character. I loved catching the reference on the fly (as it were) as I zoomed through this fascinating story. If the language is at first a little off-putting, it seems a trifle arch, but once Colleen gets going and the story gets mvoing, it all becomes of a piece.
I make no apologies; I love this woman, and I am thoroughly enjoying this book. More people should become aware of who she is and what she does and enjoy her as much as I do.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
I was very bored while reading the first hundred pages of this book. Then, I was somewhat bored reading until Richard Morgan gets arrested. After that I was interested, but not fascinated. Once the ships headed for Australia though, I was hooked.

This book is about Colleen McCullough's real life great great, grandfather, Richard Morgan, who was arrested in England under false charges so he couldn't testify against a powerful man who he had caught avoiding taxes. From his place in prison, which is overcrowded thanks to the revolutionary war in America which caused a halt on sending convicts out of the British Isles, Morgan is placed on a prison hulk in the Thames. This is a grand experiment, to see if old slaving boats can work well as prisons without taking up land space. From there, Morgan, along with several other healthy convict buddies, are loaded into a somewhat better ship, and sailed off to the newly discovered Australia, known then as New South Wales. In this way, England solved its prison problem, and colonized a new continent ahead of the Dutch.

I'm sure a lot of the book is family legend about Richard Morgan's real life deeds, but I don't care. This book is a fascinating, brutal slice of real history and an amazing look at a man who will do whatever it takes to survive. Even if Richard Morgan tends to be a little cardboard like, his story and friends who are full of color make up for it. This book turned me on to a whole new area in history, and I'm extremely disappointed there are no other such books about the colonization of Australia.

If you're thinking about reading this, do. It's slow going to the start, but more than worth it in the end. I know it's a book I'll read year after year.

Five stars all the way.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 2000
.... you'll have a splendid time learning about life in England and New South Wales during the 1780's. McCullough is a teacher with a gift for writing and I had a great time with the story. Not as scholarly as the Masters of Rome Series, but I'm guessing her publisher insisted upon her producing something that appeals to a wider market. I have a new appreciation for the Australian's and was shocked to learn about the unfairness of the English court system during those times. This will be a great follow-up to the summer Olympics ... get a glimpse of that beautiful harbor as it was 220 years ago and let the spirit of Richard Morgan inspire you in the same way that some of your favorite athletes have!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on October 19, 2000
First off, I am a big fan of Colleen McCullough. I am desperately waiting for the next novel in the First Man of Rome/Caesar series. Having said that, I was only slightly disappointed that this wasn't the book I had been waiting for. McCullough shows us what life must have been like, for any emigrant from England, in the late 1700's. Her character, Richard Morgan, (a testament to Darwin's theory) along with beautiful descriptive passages of Australia and Norfolk Island, keep us reading. She takes us to a continent most American have never seen and allows us a glimpse. I recommend this book to any McCullough fan, lover of historical fiction, or armchair traveler.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 15, 2001
I have read all of Colleen McCullough's novels, and found the Masters of Rome series to be absolutely riveting as well as informative and "real" - Rome at that time came alive for me and the characters had real depth. In addition, she managed to create riveting plot lines that brought me into all the action and helped to make sense of a very far away and ancient time.
Unfortunately, I did not have this same experience with Morgan's Run. I really wanted to know about the beginnings of Australia, and in her usual thorough manner, Ms. McCullough taught me a lot. Even though Richard Morgan is a complex and interesting character, I did not feel myself really caring about him or the many, MANY people he comes into contact with. Near the end of the story I started to finally get into the message that I think she was striving to convey....quiet strength ultimately overcomes adversity, but Richard was SO quiet that he almost bored me. The character, Meghann, in The Thorn Birds, came totally alive for me and Caesar is incomparable in the Rome Series (I am in love with this man and wish I could time travel, even if only half of her description of him is true!). Richard Morgan seems to be more of a plot mechanism and she almost uses this poor man as badly as the people of his time tried to do. He is admirable but there is so much detail written about what happens AROUND him that I barely got to know HIM. I will, however, read the sequels because of the historical knowledge I will gain and because I am now familiar with the main characters and am beginning to see them as more three dimensional.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2004
This is the first book I have ever read by Colleen McCullough so I was able to open this book with no expectations. The novel was descriptive, precise, and extremely thought provoking. She is a wonderful writer. It was obvious to me (even before I knew anything of the writer) that much investigation had been done in preparation for this book. She entertained me enormously. I have read many reviews here that hint they were not especially pleased with Richard Morgan's last great love, I on the other hand beleive the choice was perfect. I also enjoyed her descriptive narratives about all the little things, such as making Brown Bess, and the art of sharpening saw blades. How can a book really take you back to the time period without giving a person a glimpse or two of the way things actually were? I cannot wait for the sequel to this novel. I have found out that the settlement on Norfolk Island did not last,which makes me wonder what direction she will take for the sequel. I am waiting impatiently for the next installment.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 8, 2000
What a wonderful way to learn history! Take a certain period, take a special group of people (the convicts), transport them around the globe, under horrible conditions. Then see what strong spirits and resourcefulness can accomplish. I found Richard Morgan to be that perfect central character--strong, focused, weak in self esteem, but strong in his faith and dedicated to survival. I truly look forward to continuation of his life and times, which the author promises us...GO, GIRL!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2009
I highly recomend this saga of one mans struggle being convicted and sent to Australia that seems unjust. A historical novel based on the life of a man who was real. Fasinating story. A book that is hard to put down. Excellently written.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 11, 2001
Richard Morgan is the kind of man that makes people sit up and pay attention. An honest, hard working man that has been duped by a dishonest group of people, he finds himself a convict, indentured for 7 years to the New World of Australia. We travel o're the globe with him and can't help but enjoy the straightforward and consistent manner that brings him respect from nearly all that he meets, including the officers aboard the ship he is transported upon. It is in the New World that he makes a name for himself and finds those things that complete a man's life.
I was a great fan of THE THORN BIRDS so I picked up this book expecting more of the same. What I found instead was a book that is more technical and very well researched but lacking the emotion I was looking for. I would give this book a 3.5 if I could. There is also an abridged version on tape that might cut down on the technical details. All said and done it was a very good ending but too little too late. Kelsana 6/11/01
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