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Publisher's Summary

He fought Napoleon's army and survived.

He was sent to the gallows and escaped the noose.

Now he is in chains and on his way to the other side of the world. What happens next will become one of the most remarkable survival stories in history.

The 19th century has just begun. The world is at war. England, ruled by a mad king, is exiling thousands of criminals to an old land that has become its newest dumping ground.

One of those prisoners is William Buckley, barely 21, a former soldier sentenced to life for stealing two small pieces of cloth. He's a giant for his times. But it's not just his towering frame that sets him apart. It's his desire for freedom that will make his story so unique - even in an era famous for outrageous acts of bravery and heroism.

On a moonlit night Buckley escapes and disappears into the Australian bush. Discovered and adopted by an aboriginal tribe who regard him as a ghost, he is initiated into their rich and complex culture. Given up for dead by his white captors, he will not be seen again for more than 30 years until he emerges one day...carrying a spear, dressed in animal skins and having forgotten the English language. 

Buckley's Chance is a profound journey into a turning point in history where cultures clash, bitter rivals go to war and the body count mounts.

It's also the story of a man who refuses to be held down.

A man prepared to defy all odds and take a chance.

Buckley's chance.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio on our Desktop Site.

©2019 Garry Linnell (P)2019 Penguin Random House Australia

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Excellent detail

Buckley's Chance is an excellent piece of research into the 19th century setting this extraordinary tale takes place in. In a first, Linnell supplies us with sources that have not heard from before in relation to the life of Buckley. Linnell deftly inserts these accounts into Buckley's tale which has the result of bringing to life the scheming characters Buckley had to contend with in white society both before and after his 32 year sojourn with the Wathaurong aboriginal people.

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Marvelous

Never have I learnt so much about early colonial Australia in one book! The story is themed around William Buckley, although Linnell writes dozens of sub-stories about other characters and topics of the time - the Napoleonic Wars, the convict ships, the controversial John Batman, other shipwrecks and survivors of the bush, and of course, the aborigines and their plight. The writing style is not what I was expecting either; it is written in the present tense and addresses the main character Buckley as though the author was writing him a letter. Fairly unusual but gives the story a more personal feeling. One of the few audiobooks I will likely return to some time in the near future.

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Odd but interesting

William Buckley's story is a fascinating one. This re-telling of it is oddly written however, jumping about in time in place, focussing on a variety of different historical characters, so that it is difficult to follow in places. The use of the second person POV in places, is downright bizarre. The audio narrator (which is the author himself) is not great either unfortunately. Overall, I did find the material very interesting, so I'd say this one is worth a read if you're interested in early colonial history for sure.

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Buckley Huh...

What a great story about a man who integrated into the indigenous people. His story is generally a balanced view of the time, between the good and bad of both the English and Indigenous People. The author should have paid someone to read it for him, it is a little awkward to listen to.

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Fantastic story, average delivery

Well written & researched. Histories of characters interesting, More impact if professional voiceover/actor delivers story.

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  • Bart C.
  • 03-11-2019

Better to find another narrator

Sorry, but best if Gary stays on the writing side of the book. Narration isn’t great and portrayal of characters by essentially closing his throat downright annoying. Detracts from a good story.

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