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Comment: exlibrary hardcover book in mylar jacket with light wear, shows some light reader wear throughout ,all the usual library marks and stamps.
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The Daughters of Mars: A Novel Hardcover

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books (August 20, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1476734615
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476734613
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.4 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (190 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,092 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Sally and Naomi Dorrance, grown sisters, aren’t particularly close. Personality ­differences nudge them apart. Sally has stayed home on the family’s farm in New South Wales and practices nursing close to home, while Naomi has fled to Sydney to nurse in wider, deeper waters. When their mother is verging on death, Naomi returns home, and the sisters perform an act that binds them in a peculiar way, as they now have to carry a guilty secret between them. Their world is opened drastically as they volunteer as nurses during WWI and are loaded onto a hospital ship treating Australian soldiers who have been wounded in the disastrous Battle of Gallipoli in Turkey. Their ship is torpedoed off the Greek islands, and the sisters’ survival of a sinking ship is perhaps the most compelling—and longest—scene in this lengthy novel, the latest from the author of many distinguished historical novels, including Schindler’s List (1982). The sisters end up nursing on the western front, and, in the end, it is their nursing experiences, their having to face countless horrors of loss of life and limb, that become the true meaning of their sisterly bond. Greatly detailed, alternately fast moving and slow, this story boasts authentic characters set in equally authentic locations. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Active advertising and scheduling of the author for interviews make up a portion of the publisher’s large publicity campaign for this book. --Brad Hooper


Poignant . . . masterly . . . epic . . . [Keneally] has rescued forgotten heroines from obscurity and briefly placed them center stage.” (The New York Times Book Review)

“A burly, captivating saga of Australian nurses on the front lines of World War I... Inscribed with the stately, benign authority of an eminent tale-spinner. ” (Wall Street Journal)

Magnificent… a stunning performance, full of suspense, searing particulars, and deep emotion.… The huge talents of Thomas Keneally are everywhere on display.” (The Guardian)

"The Daughters of Mars is the work of a master storyteller, sharing a tale that is simultaneously sprawling and intimate." (NPR)

“The story has a surprise ending — two, in fact — that add to its fascinations. Keneally’s best-known book is likely to remain 'Schindler’s List,' but this is his masterpiece.” (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

"[A] poignant novel." (New York Times, Editor's Choice)

“May be the best novel of Keneally’s career… a book that aims for, and achieves, real grandeur.” (The Spectator, One of the Best Books of 2012)

"An epic, sweeping book." (LA Times)

“Extraordinarily moving… Keneally is a master of character development and period detail…. Fans of Downton Abbey and Gallipoli alike will find much to admire in Keneally’s fast-moving, flawlessly written pages.” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)

“Superbly exciting to read….. An unmissable, unforgettable tribute.” (The Times (London))

"Keneally has a Tolstoy-like gift for getting into his characters’ heads, as well as for portraying great turns of history in scenes of everyday life." (The Dallas Morning News)

“Not only is The Daughters of Mars one of the most ambitious novels in a career that stretches back to 1964, but it might even be the best… The result is something few other authors would aim for, let alone achieve: genuine grandeur." (The Telegraph)

“A big and brutal book, a new prism through which to think about World War I…breathtaking…magnificent and almost magical. There are moments of joy, of pleasure, that make you look up from their page for a while to arrest and savour their sensation.” (The Australian)

“Along with a Tolstoyan ability to describe the horrors of battle, this amazing book also has an extraordinary intimacy, especially in the relationship between the altogether towering achievement.” (A.N. Wilson)

“Now, at last and triumphantly, there is a full-scale Keneally novel of the Great War...All of it is handled by Keneally with calm mastery. If epic is no longer a literary category that fits this world, The Daughters of Mars nonetheless has a tragic and humane span that few recent novels have attempted, let alone equalled.” (Canberra Times)

“Expansive and brilliant…a masterpiece that is sure to rank among Keneally’s best works. “ (Bookpage)

"Greatly detailed... boasts authentic characters set in equally authentic locations." (Booklist)

“Like the warriors of Homer’s Iliad, Keneally gives readers a sense of the vast and continuous casualties dealt by war and reminds us that each soldier was once a boy armed with little more than a pitchfork.” (The Missourian)

"Keneally has summoned all of his ample talent to write a sweeping novel of World War I." (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

“By Page 6, readers can put up their feet and relax. They know they're in the reassuring hands of a master storyteller, and a fascinating read lies ahead. “ (San Jose Mercury News)

"A bravura piece of writing." (Seattle Times)

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Customer Reviews

All in all, a great read which I wouldn't hesitate to recommend.
Pam Garfoot
I don't want to spoil it for others, but I felt cheated when I finished the book.
Marcia Brinkley
Beautifullly written, very well developed characters, immersive story.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
In this novel (his 29th), Tom Keneally tells the story of Naomi and Sally Durance, daughters of a Macleay Valley dairy-farming family, who volunteer as nurses during the Great War. In 1914, in Sydney, Naomi and Sally sign up to serve in the war that has just broken out on the other side of the world. Each of the sisters has a reason for volunteering; a reason which creates both closeness and distance between them.

A few weeks later, Sally and Naomi form part of a large group of doctors, nurses and orderlies who set sail for Egypt. After periods in Cairo and Alexandria, they experience the horrors of Gallipoli from Lemnos and on the Red Cross hospital ship, the Archimedes. In this part of the novel, Mr Keneally captures the reality of trying to save life and reduce suffering in conditions which grow steadily worse. The number of casualties increases, while the already limited supplies of drugs and surgical supplies decrease. Estimates of how long the war will last increase and both weather and ineffective leadership exacerbate the suffering.

`A great recycle of soldiers' flesh was in progress.'

Towards the end of the first part of the novel, the Archimedes is beset by disaster. In the second part, Naomi and Sally and those of their colleagues who survive resume nursing in France on the Western Front. Here, war assumes new destructive forms: aerial bombardment and gas warfare; the horrors of the Somme - death and destruction, horror and heartbreak. All of the nurses are affected physically and emotionally. Some, including Naomi, are punished for caring too much and becoming too close to other staff or the patients.

`Too busy delivering the dead to find the living.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Marcia Brinkley on September 29, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I wanted to like this book but it was so tedious at the beginning that it took me several days to get first the first few chapters, even though I'm usually a very fast reader. The story picked up when the sisters arrived in the Dardanelles and held my interest for a couple of hundred pages, but it lagged again near the end. As a retired military nurse (Vietnam era), I thought the hospital scenes were probably accurate, although I'm not an expert on WWI-era medicine. I'm not sure why the author felt it necessary to provide such extensive detail about every injury and illness (mental and physical)the nurses encountered, as I imagine that some readers might need to skip over some of those sections. Cutting at least 100 pages from this book might have improved it.

Most disappointing, though, was the ending. I don't want to spoil it for others, but I felt cheated when I finished the book. I wish I had not spent so much time reading it.
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Format: Paperback
(4.5 stars) In one of his most expansive novels since Confederates, Australian author Thomas Keneally recreates the cataclysm of World War I, providing an epic vision of warfare with all its horrors, while focusing on the specific contributions of Australia, and its nurses in particular, to Britain's war effort. Creating two sisters, young nurses from rural New South Wales, who volunteer to serve in Europe and the eastern Mediterranean, Keneally creates the points of view through which he then describes the war, its atrocities, and the heroic actions of its Australian participants. The result is a grand saga in which these two nurses, their colleagues, their patients, and their soldier friends share their lives and their feelings as they deal with the accidents of fate which will change them all.

Nurses Naomi Durance and her younger sister Sally have a testy relationship with each other when they ship out of Australia at the beginning of the war, and they often go in different directions to different locations during the war, each woman providing a unique point of view which broadens the reader's understanding of the war and expands the novel's scope. Their lively characterizations bring the reader into the action directly as the sisters and their colleagues observe and share the small, brave moments they experience personally; Keneally's sensitive descriptions make the epic moments of life and death equally as vivid as the novel develops.

After being based in Cairo, the sisters are assigned to a hospital ship involved in the devastating, nine-month-long Battle of Gallipoli which causes over 25,000 deaths and injuries to Australians alone, as they deal with everything from lack of supplies to enemy torpedoes.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Just My Op VINE VOICE on August 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is the first book I've read by this prolific author, but it won't be the last.

Two Australian sisters have signed up as nurses during the early days of WWI, and get into the thick of things quickly. The author does not hold back on the horrors of war, and while I think this book very well written and while it had an impact on me, I would not recommend it for those already on anti-depressants. If you are not, you might want some close at hand. This is a novel of almost unrelenting brutality and despair.

The author's style of writing challenged me. There are no quotation marks in the dialogue, and some of the phrasing is not entirely straightforward. It took me a while to get into the rhythm of his writing, but it got easier as the book went on. Given that, it was quite beautiful. I don't mind being challenged as a reader.

The author had notes at the beginning of the book informing what was fictionalized. There is still much well-researched history in the novel. I very much appreciated that, along with the map in the covers.

The novel covers much moral ground without being judgmental. The dismissive, disrespectful, degrading, and sometimes violent treatment of the nurses doing the best they can to save lives. A conscientious objector who enlisted to save lives. The way animals are always called in to fight human wars, through no choice of their own, and suffer and die for it.

And, of course, the extreme brutality and humanity doing its best to cope.

The only thing that didn't ring quite true to me is the angst over a "crime" committed early in the novel. The characterization was complex and wonderful. The people who disappeared from the story only to appear again later.
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