Patricia Carlon (1927-2002) was born in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, but during her life was mostly unknown / under-appreciated by publishers in Australia. Fortunately she lived just long enough to see local interest revive in her work, but not long enough to see the justified increased interest.
Confined to her bed by a stroke, believed to be comatose, and surrounded by greedy relatives, Sarah Oatland overhears a plot to commit murder.
In this historical novel, Simpson intertwines real historical events and figures with her own fictions, to 'map the silences' that traditional history leaves untouched. She masterfully weaves the reality of the darkness of Van Diemen's Land with brilliantly realised imaginings of the past on this remote island at the end of the earth.