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by Thomas Keneally

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Washington Square Press
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5.30(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.70(d)



From the acclaimed author of Schindler’s List comes the epic, unforgettable story of two sisters whose lives are transformed by the cataclysm of the First World War.

IN 1915, Naomi and Sally Durance, two spirited Australian sisters, join the war effort as nurses, escaping the confines of their father’s farm and carrying a guilty secret with them. Though they are used to tending the sick, nothing could have prepared them for what they confront, first on a hospital ship near Gallipoli, then on the Western Front.

Yet amid the carnage, the sisters become the friends they never were at home and find them­selves courageous in the face of extreme danger and also the hostility from some on their own side. There is great bravery, humor, and compassion, too, and the inspiring example of the remarkable women they serve alongside. In France, where Naomi nurses in a hospital set up by the eccen­tric Lady Tarlton while Sally works in a casualty clearing station, each meets an exceptional man: the kind of men for whom they might give up some of their newfound independence—if only they all survive.

At once vast in scope and extraordinarily intimate, The Daughters of Mars brings World War I vividly to life from an uncommon perspecВ­tive. Thomas Keneally has written a remarkable novel about suffering and transcendence, despair and triumph, and the simple acts of decency that make us human even in a world gone mad.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The horrific butcher’s bill of WWI trench fighting, which took a toll not only on the wounded soldiers but on the doctors and nurses who tended to them, is at the heart of this moving epic novel from the author of Schindler’s List. The story is told through the experiences of two sisters, Sally and Naomi Durance, both nurses, who enter the morally complex area of treating the devastatingly injured with peacetime experience. Eight months before the call went out from the Australian government for military nurses, Naomi apparently used some extra morphine that Sally had procured to end their mother’s suffering from inoperable cervical cancer. The euthanasia both drew the siblings together in a conspiracy of silence and created a barrier between them. Their duties take them to Egypt and Europe, as they struggle to stay alive, and to stay mentally composed despite the awful situations they must confront. By again using individuals to humanize a larger story, Keneally succeeds in conveying the experience to his readers in a manageable way. Agent: Amanda Urban, ICM. (Aug. 10)

Related Subjects

  • ">2013 Walter Scott Prize Shortlist
  • ">Australian Fiction
  • ">Australians - Fiction
  • ">Doctors & Nurses - Fiction
  • ">Sisters - Fiction
  • ">World War I - Historical Fiction

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