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THE CONVICTS by Iain Lawrence Kirkus Star


by Iain Lawrence

Age Range: 10 & up

Pub Date: April 12th, 2005
ISBN: 0-385-73087-X
Publisher: Delacorte

In Greek mythology, Lachesis was the Fate who measured the thread of a man’s life. In this story, Lachesis is an evil, ghostly prison ship and it’s young Tom Tin who’s convicted of murder and fated to prison time on the old hulk. Conditions are horrible, escape or pardon unlikely, and the best hope is to be transported, as Tom eventually is, to Van Diemen’s Land. When his father is sent to debtor’s prison, Tom sets off to settle accounts with sinister Mr. Goodfellow. Charles Dickens with a good editor might have told a tale like this, full of fog, outrageous characters, sad fortunes and lucky coincidences. A mysterious twin, a bone grubber, a giant, a blind man, a three-legged horse and a diamond found and lost are part of the sequence of events that lands Tom on Lachesis, a dark and cruel fate for such a young boy. Brilliant writing, adventure and a likable character mired in the claustrophobic dark of a 19th-century convict ship will entrance all readers who love an old-fashioned tale well told. (author’s note) (Fiction. 10+)