The Book of Science and Antiquities
By Thomas Keneally
Read by Paul Haley
By the Booker Prize-winning author of Schindler's Ark, a bold, millennia-spanning novel about community, mortality, and what it means to be human.
Two men's lives are linked across millennia in an exquisite exploration of community, country, and what it means to be human by Booker Prize-winner and leading Australian novelist Tom Keneally, author of Schindler's Ark.
Shade belongs to a clan living peaceably on the shores of a bountiful lake. When trouble threatens, he knows that the Hero ancestors will ask him to kill, or sacrifice himself, to save his people.
Over 40,000 years later, Shade's remains are unearthed near Lake Learned in Western Australia. The sensational discovery of 'Learned Man' sparks the interest of Shelby Apples, a documentary film maker, who tracks the long-running controversy that ensues: if Learned was not of our species, the Aboriginals could not claim to be the continent's first inhabitants; but if he was, his bones should be returned to them.
To Shelby, who will follow his own heroes to the battlefields of Eritrea and the Rift Valley where Homo sapiens originated, Learned is a messenger from an ancient culture that lived in harmony with the land - and, when mortality looms, he becomes a symbol of enduring life.
(P)2019 Hodder & Stoughton Limited
Thomas Keneally began his writing career in 1964 and has published thirty-one novels since. They include Schindler's Ark, which won the Booker Prize in 1982 and was subsequently made into the film Schindler's List, and The Chant Of Jimmie Blacksmith, Confederates and Gossip From The Forest, each of which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. His most recent novels are The Daughters Of Mars, which was shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize in 2013, Shame and the Captives and Crimes of the Father. He has also written several works of non-fiction, including his memoir Homebush Boy, Searching for Schindler and Australians. He is married with two daughters and lives in Sydney.
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- Publication date:
05 Feb 2019
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Electric with life, passion and appetite . . . intensely personal, hugely inventive and often moving novel. — Geordie Williamson, Australian
Learned's voice is a wonderful creation: modern, compassionate and filled with moral authority . . . Both perspectives will fascinate Keneally's dedicated followers who have come to expect daring narratives dealing with themes of family, morality and moral responsibility. — Australian Bookseller
[An] impressive sketch of ghostly affinities between a man who makes images at once artistic and real out of the life he records and shapes, and another who conjures and kills and wills himself on the tightrope of justice and mercy in a time that Keneally is very adept at animating . . . It leaps to Africa, it resounds with the shadow-world of ancient Australia, it can evoke a background of the Inuit, of any damn thing pertinent to the purposes of a master craftsman who has no intention of taking anything lying down. — The Saturday Paper
[Keneally] steps forth into a wild landscape of evolution, myth and primal emotion . . . a hymn to idealism, and to human development . . . As a portrait of passion, belonging, anger and forgiveness in marriage, in whatever stage of evolution, this book is deeply affecting. — Sydney Morning Herald