English Passengers

Winner of the 2000 Costa Book Award for Book of the Year & Best Novel

A 2000 Man Booker Prize Finalist

A 2000 ALA Notable Book

It is 1857, and Reverend Geoffrey Wilson has departed England to prove the literal truth of the Bible. The expedition heads towards Tasmania, where he is convinced he will find the real Garden of Eden. But the other passengers have their own agendas. Dr. Potter is developing a sinister thesis, and the ship is crewed by smugglers of contraband brandy and tobacco. As the English passengers near Peevay’s land, their bizarre notions become painfully at odds with reality. Their destination is no Eden but a world of hunting parties and colonial ethnic cleansing. A mighty collision is approaching…

Editorial Reviews

“As horrifying as it is funny.”

Los Angeles Times

“Every page fizzes with linguistic invention, and the interleaving of high comedy with dramatic terror is expertly handled.”

Guardian (London)

“Robust intellectual entertainment: a comic sea adventure, survival tale, and quest for the Garden of Eden all bound in one.”

Globe and Mail (Toronto)

“The brutal hand of British imperialism provides the foundation for this broad historical swashbuckler about the English colonization of Tasmania…Kneale’s careful research and colorful storytelling result in an impressive epic.”


Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Reader Biography

Davina Porter has been enthralling listeners for over twenty-five years with her ability to mine the psychological depths of the characters she reads and bring them convincingly to life. She has been honored as an AudioFile Golden Voice and she also won the prestigious Audie Award in 2006.

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