Thirteen-year-old Barnaby Fletch is a bag-and-bones orphan in London in the late 1700s.
Barnaby lives on his wits and ill-gotten gains, on streets seething with the press of the throng and shadowed by sinister figures.
Life is a precarious business. When he hears of a paradise on the other side of the world - a place called Botany Bay - he decides to commit a crime and get himself transported to a new life, a better life.
To succeed, he must survive the trials of Newgate Prison, the stinking hull of a prison ship and the unknown terrors of a journey across the world. And Botany Bay is far from the paradise Barnaby has imagined.
When his past and present suddenly collide, he is soon fleeing for his life - once again. A riveting story of courage, hope and extraordinary adventure.
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I was waiting for the story to start right to the last sentence. I probably had wrong expectations... Marsden is usually such a great storyteller but this one never got to me.