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The Penal Colony [Kindle Edition]

Richard Herley
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (350 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $4.99

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Revenge isn’t the only dish served cold...
From the New York Times best-selling author hailed for her “inimitable, take-no-prisoners style” (Kirkus Reviews), Cold Betrayal forces Ali Reynolds to confront the face of evil, and the women who are being hunted. See more from J.A. Jance

Book Description

The future.

The British government now runs island prison colonies to take dangerous offenders from its overcrowded mainland jails.

Among all these colonies, Sert, 25 miles off the north Cornish coast, has the worst reputation. There are no warders. Satellite technology is used to keep the convicts under watch. New arrivals are dumped by helicopter and must learn to survive as best they can. To Sert, one afternoon in July, is brought Anthony John Routledge, sentenced for a sex-murder he did not commit. Routledge knows he is here for ever. And he knows he must quickly forget the rules of civilized life. But not all the islanders are savages. Under the charismatic leadership of one man a community has evolved. A community with harsh and unyielding rules, peopled by resourceful men for whom the hopeless dream of escape may not be so hopeless after all ...

‘Normally I shun such reviewer clichés as “a real page-turner”, “leaves you breathless”, “can’t put it down”, considering them to be empty substitutes for critical thought. Well, there’s always an exception: I’ve weighed those phrases carefully, and I believe that each of them accurately applies to a new novel, The Penal Colony by Richard Herley.’

— Roger Miller, Milwaukee Journal

‘intriguing, ultimately uplifting ... this fast-moving, intelligent thriller goes into top gear.’

— Publishers’ Weekly

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Only violent criminals are brought to the island penal colony of Sert. Gunships circle the waters. There are no warders and no rules. There is only the Community, which provides a rigidly imposed order in exchange for a modicum of security and comfort. Madmen and sociopaths roam beyond the gates. Into this world descends Anthony John Routledge, sentenced for a crime he did not commit. Before Routledge is permitted to join the Community, he survives assault, attempted buggery, and murder, and kills three men. Then, the elders draft him to work on a plan to escape. They succeed, achieving victory both against those who condemned them and the barbarians who wait outside the gates to destroy them. A gripping novel, as thriller or novel of ideas. David Keymer, SUNY Coll. of Technology, Utica
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 837 KB
  • Print Length: 311 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004VTHSA6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #476,310 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
146 of 151 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So much better than that godawful movie! July 5, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
The first time I read The Penal Colony was 1998 or so; I spotted a well-used paperback copy in a pile of abandoned belongings at a college dormitory. I took it, began to read, and was instantly absorbed. I was blown away by the story, the characters, and through it all the language: sometimes sharp and precise, other times poetic, always compelling and memorable. I consider myself a fairly well-read person, in terms of classic literature as well as modern best-sellers, and without hesitation, I put The Penal Colony on my "Desert Island List" of ten books that I would take with me to my own exile on Sert.

Up until a few years ago, this book was hard to find: out of print (at least in the USA), and precious little information available on the internet. Now it's available as an e-book here on Amazon, and it's an absolute gem of a book. The ideas, situations and characters will stay with you for life.
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73 of 73 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pleasantly surprised May 24, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Intelligently written, with believable characters and dialogue. A decent, mild-mannered man who has taken the modern, civilized man's life of relative ease and convenience for granted is thrust into a world of depravity and violence, and must learn how to survive. And he learns much more besides. It was good enough that I will seek out more work by this author. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this book, especially for the current $3 price.
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50 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent May 24, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The title suggested more of fiction tilted toward a mans type of novel, but I found myself caught up in this engaging novel and could not put it down. A couple of times the story was a little technical so I just skipped it, but that might be what really seals the deal for you if you are into boat building details. I did really enjoy the way the story was well thought out and the characters were real to me.. a great original story.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is great! September 19, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I don't usually write reviews, but I really want to get the word out about this book. I was so very surprised with what I read. This is some beautiful writing and a wonderfully choreographed plot. I was expecting thriller fluff and was pleasantly gifted with an excellent novel.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard to Put This One Down March 19, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've had this on my Kindle for almost two years now and just got around to reading it: I wish I had picked this up sooner as it was really good!

The author does a great job of quickly getting you into the head and situations of the main character and I could literally envision the scenery and characters as if I was right there, and with the various scenes throughout I felt as if I was an actual participant. While describing a penal colony situation that is not known in the present time, the author paints the story and situation as if it were real - you feel the sadness, anger, joys, and other emotions of the characters as they do their best to survive in a bad situation.

The ending did come a little abrupt, and there is a possibility with the ending of a sequel. I hope so, as I had a difficult time putting this one down and stayed up really late one night to finish it.

I originally picked this up for free during a Kindle promotion and, as I type this review, I see the book is still free vs. its normal price of $3.99. Even if it reverts back to full price, I believe you will receive a heck of a lot more entertainment value than $3.99 from this one.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read September 16, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Just finished this book last night and I loved it. It was extremely readable with engaging characters you can really become involved with. Has elements of society building AKA "Lord of the Flies", combined with great action throughout. There are a couple of areas that are left a little hazy especially when reading about pre-Sert relationships among a couple of the primary characters.

The writing was descriptive without being overkill, and the story really is compelling. I found myself ignoring or setting aside other activities as I wanted to find out what was going to happen next. I highly recommend this book, I give it 4.5 stars.
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33 of 40 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Worth the Time Spent on It August 10, 2012
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was an odd read, and I'm not sure if I mean this as a compliment or not. I own the movie that resulted from Penal Colony, called No Escape, so I figured that I had a handle on the premise (contrary to most reviewers here, I like No Escape).....but quickly found out that the other than the island itself and some generic names, the two have little in common. It's not as totally seperate as Wag the Dog and American Hero were, but pretty close.

The protagonist of the story is Routledge, an English surveyor sentenced to life in prison for a murder that he claims he didn't commit (I won't spoil whether he did it or not), and soonthereafter finds himself on Sert, a prison island off the coast of Cornwall. Sert is divided between the Insiders, who live in a village and retain some semblance of society, with rigid rules and a hierarchy.....and the Outsiders, who aren't united, and rape and kill each other with regular frequency. The Insiders make up for their lack of numbers with their organization, and Routledge, after escaping a band of Outsiders who capture him, slowly assimilates himself into the Insiders and finds himself.

And that's the point of the story, Routledge figuring out what he's capable of and who he is. The other characters are nothing more than foils for him, and the most potentially interesting of the bunch, Martinson (the putative antagonist), is given short shrift, appearing almost haphazardly here and there.

The strange part of the novel is that so much takes place off page.......including almost all of the action. Rape is mentioned, but never shown, battles are fought, but never seen on page. Other than a bit of language, the book almost qualifies for a PG rating, if books had such ratings.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this book
One of the press reviews aptly compared this effort to 'Lord of the Flies.' It truly is a brilliant re-imagining of the classic tale.
Published 1 month ago by T
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
Keeps you guessing, great reading and the plot is intreating, you will enjoy the friendships, people and the feel of the small village in the story.
Published 1 month ago by just read
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good book. Kinda petered out in the end I thought. .
Published 1 month ago by John Dean
5.0 out of 5 stars great read, great detail!
Interesting plot, great detail in the writing
Recommended for readers of prison escapes and life on an island, keeps you entertained
Published 1 month ago by okc shopper
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 1 month ago by Deanna
5.0 out of 5 stars Escape Proof Prison
This is the basis for the movie No Escape. I can't say it's better than the movie since I have never seen the movie. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Ricky KImsey
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT READ!
Had me from the first page, very well written, characters superb!
I had to finish this, putting all other things aside, looking now for more from this author!
Published 2 months ago by He will be back
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Independant Writer
I read this as a FREE ebook and had to get a hard copy after learning that the Movie 'No Escape' was based upon this wonderful novel. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Geist Von PA
5.0 out of 5 stars A well told story that intertains, informs and fills the reader with...
As I read the book listings trying to decide which to read, The Penal Colony at first held low appeal. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Monica Hardy
3.0 out of 5 stars Stark.
Bleak, very stark. Zombie apocalypse fans would enjoy I think. I didn't care for it, too graphic.
Published 3 months ago by LeGreta
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More About the Author

I was born in England in 1950 and educated at Watford Boys' Grammar School and Sussex University, where my interest in natural history led me to read biology.

My first successful novel was "The Stone Arrow", which was published to critical acclaim in 1978. It subsequently won the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize, administered by the Royal Society of Literature in London, and was the first in a trilogy. This was followed by "The Penal Colony" (1987), a futuristic thriller that formed the basis of the 1994 movie "No Escape", starring Ray Liotta.

The main difficulty for the self-published author is making his voice heard. I believe that the work I am producing now is of higher quality than my prize-winning first, and ask you, the reader, to help spread the word by telling your friends if you have enjoyed one of my books.

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