Shortlist year: 2014

Shortlist category: Australian history

Published by: Hardie Grant

As a captain in the Georgian navy Arthur Phillip’s integrity, intelligence and persistence made him perfectly suited to the role that history and circumstance presented to him in 1788, but landing the First Fleet at Botany Bay was only one of many achievements in a captivating life. His is a story of political intrigue, eighteenth-century sailing ships, and the race for economic and geographic advancement in a world that was becoming truly international. It is a tale of ambition, of wealthy widows and marriage mistakes; of money and trade, espionage and mercenaries, hardship and illness.

About the author


Michael Pembroke

Michael Pembroke is a writer, judge and naturalist. He spent his childhood travelling to many maritime ports of the colonial era. His first school was at Sandhurst in England in the grounds of a military academy and his last on the foreshore of Sydney Harbour. He completed his education at Cambridge and now lives in Sydney and at the hamlet of Mount Wilson in the Blue Mountains. In 2009 he wrote Trees of History & Romance, a paean to nature and poetry. He is a direct descendant of Nathanial Lucas and Olivia Gascoigne, who arrived in Botany Bay in January 1788.