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An Epic Life
Kev Richardson
Paperback
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BOOK SYNOPSIS

An Epic Life is a true tale of an adventurous couple reaching across the world to fulfil a life’s dream—a major achievement in the mid nineteenth century.

 

The evolution of the steam engine revolutionised both time and travel. It was the whisk that developed the industrial revolution, propelled Great Britain along the track to become the most powerful nation in the nineteenth century world. The railway industry became, for many families, a lifetime career through generations.

 

An Epic Life introduces a second couple from a different lifestyles, yet the lives of each become whisked together in a froth and bubble adventure to create, on the far side of the world, a Dynasty

 

 

 

 

BOOK EXCERPTS

Oh! What a bloody to-do! Never have I seen forest so dense, especially when without end, forest so dense that a man can’t tell what’s more than a yard ahead. Any next step a man takes can have him hurtling over the edge of a precipice. I hear a waterfall, and it’s close, but whether ’tis the top of one or the bottom, how to know? Nowhere can a man find a vantage to get his bearings. I can be travelling in circles and never know it! If there is any good luck attached to this it’s that having to watch against falling down a cliff-face with any next step at least takes my mind off the cold and hunger. Even if a man feels thankful it’s here, I’m lost without warm clothing in April rather than England, it’s still cold when every stitch on me is saturated—yet whether it’s rain making everything wet rather than mist from a fall, neither is there a way of knowing—I can tell only daylight from dark.

He’d lost all sense of time. For the last two nights, he’d slept in clefts of rocks never knowing if he were sharing his shelter with a snake. The first night he’d stumbled across a creek bed that at least had a rock shelf for quite a way along it, and he’d been following it, but he soon lost track of how many times it had swerved to the right and how many to the left.

And his entire neck and face were puffed and itchy from bites. And his body was tired. Worst drawback was that his compass was acting up. Sometimes it gave a clear reading, yet even when only a few yards further, it would begin dancing in wild gyrations. His scientific knowledge of minerals wasn’t great, yet he recalled something from early RE training that if iron were present, even well below the earth surface, it could disorientate a compass...

...So maybe it’s that, but how’s a man to know that either? All I can be sure of is that, for most of each day, I’ve no certainty about which direction I’m heading. And neither can I get a view of anything from anywhere—unless the top of this waterfall I’m heading for can provide one.

He took a little solace, however, in the fact that so far he had not been confronted with finding himself on a pathway he’d already slashed. Or anybody had slashed.

Then I’d know I’ve been walking in a circle.

And if I were to follow the stream below the fall, either left or right, it would only take me to places where I’d be as lost as now! So what can a man achieve?

And his belly hungered. The small piece of bread he’d had, he’d found on his first night alone to have become saturated despite rolled up in a canvas bag. He’d eaten it nevertheless, along with a third of his sausage. Yesterday he’d denied himself breakfast. Two-thirds of a single sausage was all he had to last him until found. So he denied himself lunch. Fortunately there was water aplenty. Every leaf around was saturated with it. His handkerchief he used as a sponge on the leaves, and every time he felt a pang of hunger, he apologized to his stomach for offering it only the water he could suck from the kerchief.

He allowed himself a smile when remembering last night’s ‘supper.’

Supper? Hah! A third of a sausage is all I gave my poor stomach during an entire twenty-four hours!

He almost smiled again as his mind flew to his waking thought this morning, that today was Friday, the day Catholics forsake meat.

Thank the Lord I’m not Catholic. It least I’ll be able to eat the last of my sausage come supper. Will God then take pity on me? That I’ll hear a whistle-blast during the night? Or come morning?

AUTHOR BIO

Following a career in business management at international level, Kev attained a degree in journalism to then sweat as far up the River Nile as one can get, canoe down the Amazon, flash countless rolls of film from atop the Eiffel Tower, the heights above Yosemite, the Victoria Falls et al, scream “Ole” at a Chihuahua bullfight, ride elephant trails in Thai jungles, wallow in the incredible history of Rapa Nui’s Maoi - and as convention almost demands, was mugged in Bogota. His articles on travel to exotic lands have featured in travel and airline magazines around the world.

Meanwhile, being a sixth generation descendant from Australia’s First Fleet with an obsessive interest in his country’s founding history, he was consequently disappointed at generations of suppression in the education of Australians at the lack of truth in what really happened. Years of fact-finding with the help of other dedicated researchers revealed all and Kev vowed to set the history books aright by bringing the unsavoury truths of convictism to light. He is well qualified to do so for as a student of First Fleet history he has presented his subject on many occasions in press, radio and television interviews. He is a Past President of ‘The First Fleet Fellowship’ and a Past Secretary of ‘The Descendants of Convicts Inc.’. During Australia’s 1988 Bicentenary he officiated in Founding celebrations in Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart and Norfolk Island and for his work during that Bicentenary, was created Honorary Life Member of The Regiment of Redcoat Descendants’.

Kev now devotes his life to writing on not only his country’s convict history, but general fiction with an Australian flavour. He recognises the growing trend towards digital reading so follows the world’s top authors in publishing his works both as traditional paperbacks and eBooks.

His Gurrewa (two books in the series) and Brogan (4 books in the series to date), all released by Wings-Press (www.wings-press.com), are followed by Letitia Munro, To Plough Van Diemen’s Land and The Terrible Truths, the latter three being more works on his country’s convict beginnings. Synopses of all can be read on www.kev-richardson.com. More works are in the pipeline.

These days Kev travels less, having retired from his home on Australia’s Gold Coast, left his grown family and friends to write from experiences and adventures during his exciting travels, happily ensconced in the foothills of the Golden Triangle in amazing Thailand’s exotic north.

BOOK REVIEWS

Gurrewa Quote:

I wept for Adam Ashby.

Not because he lived such a degrading despairing life as a lowly convict, but because he had finally discovered acceptance and respect by the native Aborigines of New South Wales… only to be shot down by his own people. He had bolted into the wilds rather than be flogged for his latest crime. This is a poignant story of a boy who in his teens searched for a kind and gentler world, where a person could be loved for simply being himself. Instead, he is jailed and thrown in with hardened criminals, and military men who greedily seek power over their charges. In spite of what this criminal environment has in store for Adam, he nonetheless survives. Yet, it is his searching for empathetic love and respect that carries into manhood.

 

Gurrewa Review:

In 1784, Newgate Prison, London, Adam knows more than the average small boy working as a street-gang thief…he knows his true name. Plus, he has his nearly telepathic love and trust for one of his troop brothers. Life doesn’t seem so unsure or threatening while he has his brother, Wil, to share his experiences. However, in this cruel, hate filled existence, the type of life Adam envisions of freedom in a land of forest, doesn’t seem to mesh with his downtrodden reality.

Transported to the penal colony at New South Wales, in 1788 Adam finds Meg, a convict woman, willing to accept his brand of love. But, she is raped and when Adam steals the medication to deaden her pain, he is caught red-handed. He knows he must bolt, leaving Meg behind, rather than allow himself to be chained and flogged within an inch of his life.

Once in the wilds, he is saved from starvation and thirst by the local natives, who teach him about their ancient philosophy of love and caring. Because of his white nakedness they lovingly rename him “Gurrewa”… after the white cockatoos that live in the freedom of the trees.

Kev Richardson’s book, Gurrewa is a wonderfully insightful look into the philosophy of the original people who populated the world the English named, New South Wales, a peaceful land they took by force with no respect for the people who already lived there. -- JoEllen Conger—Conger Books Reviews, USA, Review rate:  5++

 

I very much enjoyed Brogan--it makes me want to go explore the channel country and corner-country. What a fascinating part of Australian history! -- Karen Babcock, editor

FIVE-STAR AWARD Although our hero, Adam Ashby is Kev Richardson’s fictionalized convict-birthed character born to an unwed couple, a ‘bolted convict and his ‘colony wife, this story nonetheless represents the real life history of New South Wales’ struggles to become more than just an overflow prison for England’s criminals. For those of you who miss the history in your Historical reads, you’ll not be disappointed in this factional account of Australian history 1790–1820s. “I just love the way you throw a story together.”-- JoEllen, Conger Book Reviews, USA

Letitia Munro: Richardson shows very poignantly where the Australian ‘free spirit’ and attitudes to authority stem from. As a glimpse into the times of just over 200 years ago, it is a fine historical record. I enjoyed this work immensely; it should be compulsory reading for all, especially Australians. -- Lang Reid “Chiang Mai Mail” and “Pattaya Mail”

Five Star Award! Letitia Munro, by Kev Richardson, himself a 6th generation descendant First Fleeter, continues his authentic historical account about the 162,000 convicts  imprisoned on New South Wales. It was a land that not even the king himself knew had too little fresh water for drinking, or sufficient tillable soil to support the hoards of convicts he sent to populate the colony. -- JoEllen Conger—Conger Books Reviews, USA

Letitia Munro: I just love the way you throw a story together… -- JoEllen Conger—Conger Books Reviews, USA

 

Gurrewa    (Finalist in the world’s search for the best historical e-Book of 2002)

An engrossing read!  A dark tale of what we must admit is not humanity’s finest hour.

Adam Ashby, a boy struggling to stay alive in the streets of England, is arrested for breaking into a house. His sentence is seven years, to be served in the most horrible conditions imaginable. Treated worse than a slave, he and other prisoners are kept in leg irons and sent to live in a ship-like hulks set in the river. They are given hard labour, little food and no clothing. In winter they go shoeless and when the weather is bad, are kept confined inside the hulks without windows or fresh air, and no exercise.

It is from this horror that he, other boys his age and younger, as well as men and women of all ages, are shipped to Australia to establish a prison colony. Hope blooms anew for Adam as the ship sails. But will the future hold better?

Author Kev Richardson has caught the flavour and pure awfulness of the time about which he writes. His characters are well drawn and believable and seem bent on self-destruction, the only way of life they know.

Without hesitation, I recommend this story to anyone who likes historical or mainstream tales. Join Adam in his search for hope. -- Anne K. Edwards, (eBook Reviews Weekly)

 

BROGAN’S BUST by Kev Richardson (ISBN-1-59705-825-4), Wings-Press (USA), May 2007 is a well crafted, high testosterone tale of corrupt international trafficking in gems, guns and drugs. In fact, I couldn’t help but wonder how this author knows so much detailed information about the strong-armed men of South America? It all sounds so realistic, as though he’s been there, done that… and survived!

The lead character, a footloose turban-wearing pilot, lives by his own personal ethical code, and works both sides of the law, flying mail, passengers and contraband alike over the road-less Amazonian jungles in the early 1940s. Within the corrupt complex chain of trafficking emeralds, illicit drugs, and weapons across-country, he deals with all sorts of unsavory characters… unscrupulous killers for hire, drug lords and underlings, and traffickers who spit, get drunk and scratch their privates in public. The advantages for Brogan is knowing when to take his money and look the other way, or when to fit all the suspenseful puzzle pieces together to know when to throw a wrench into the well-oiled South American smuggling operations... without getting himself and his lady friend killed. In his business, timing is everything. -- JoEllen, Conger Book Reviews, Review Rating: 5 Stars!

 

Brogan is at it again. In Brogan’s Bella’ by Kev Richardson, he and his aristocratic friend La Dama Isabella Maldonado are kidnapped in mid-flight to Australia, to find themselves doing whatever they must, to survive.

I promise you, this book is so full of high adventure and tension it will keep you turning pages—even if you know absolutely nothing about the political situation between Vietnam and France during the 1940’s.  -- JoEllen, Conger Book Reviews (USA)Review Rating: 5 Stars!

 

Acclaimed Historical writer, Kev Richardson, continues his personal introduction to Australia’s famed Letitia Munro, her eleven children, and their extensive families during their convict beginnings in Van Dieman’s Land. In her strength and foresight Titia wondered, “Does it really matter that we all came as convict stock?” … but to some of them, it did.

Kev Richardson has a way of introducing the reader to each of Letitia Munro’s family members, making the history in the late 1700’s, and early 1800’s come alive.

Eventually the names of England’s uncompromising penal colonies in New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land were changed in an effort to hide the social guilt of inhumane suffering, starvation, deliberate brutalities, and unpardonable cruelties dealt against the prisoners, whose misdeeds were often only ‘crimes of desperation’, simply to survive the hard times. However, it was these beginning years that established the convicts’ loyal code against their captors, formulating the heritage of ‘bonded relationships’ of today’s population.

Men were paired with eleven and twelve year old girls, to populate this new land under devastating conditions, often being uprooted and moved to new locations when England was at war with the French. Because owning property became a step toward respectability, many convicts became docile in order to receive these granted farm lands. Even then, they fought to make ends meet. They struggled to grow crops, and raise stock… hogs and sheep, while surviving draught, range fires, taxes, bigotry, and illiteracy.

Still others were continually in trouble with the law because they couldn’t give up their scallywag ways. Adam Newitt, a cobbler by trade, was such a man. So, throughout the years, each generation faced its own hardships, yet was determined to be known as trustworthy and respectable.

I highly recommend Kev Richardson’s historical tales. He has a way of bringing history to life. --  Jo Ellen – Conger Book Reviews - USA

 

This trio of a family’s history (“Letitia Munro”, “To Plough Van Diemen’s Land’ and ‘The Terrible Truths’) is not only a great tale of pioneering, suitable for everyone, but should be compulsory reading for all Australians! -- Ebon Marchant, Sydney Star Reviews

 

I must agree with Australian historian, Kev Richardson, a proud sixth generation ‘First Fleeter’, that denying the terrible truths of convictism and its atrocities, only made today’s Australians stronger for knowing how their forebears clung together to cope with intolerance, bigotry, and hypocrisy of the times.

Each new generation born at the penal colonies of ‘New South Wales’ and ‘Van Diemen’s Land’ in the 1800’s, indeed proved themselves brave founders, who stuck together in bonded mate-ships as they desperately strove to survive.

I found reading about the true history of the 1800’s in Australia, an eye-opener. The developing society of Class Distinctions between the incarcerated prisoners, emancipated convicts, and those born free of convict-stock developed a colony with intense prejudices and hatreds. However, the times changed when schooling became available to the offspring of the many convict families; and the ups and downs of mining reversed their failing economies. It was then decided, to build the country’s self-esteem, to hide the terrible truth of the nation’s beginnings from their youngsters. This created two factions: one, to hide from their sons and daughters the shame of having been convict-born; the other, wanting to preserve their personal pride in the strengths of their ethos.

Kev Richardson brings to life the stories of families struggling to survive in the penal colonies. Braving untried lands, they faced devastating conditions, brutality, bigotry, and high taxation. Here is a modern day author bravely disclosing the terrible truths concealed behind the recorded history of the ancestors transported into a living hell—and how they really lived and loved. I highly recommend this series to all history lovers. This book will open your eyes to the shocking truths behind Australia’s hidden past. --   JoEllen, Conger Book Reviews - USA

 

This may not be the same ‘Brogan’ as Kev Richardson portrayed in his other Brogan stories, but he nonetheless fits the same mold of a devil-may-care adventurer. At first I thought if this Brogan didn’t have ‘bad luck’ he wouldn’t have any luck at all…but then I realized that if it hadn’t been for his luck he surely would have been robbed of more than just his camera in Africa, gotten nailed as a smuggler of exotic women, or had his throat slashed in a darkened alley. I challenge anyone to put this book down once they start reading. Double dare you! -- JoEllen, Conger Book Reviews (USA)

Brogan, a free lance Travel Journalist doesn’t have to look for trouble. It seeks him out. Becky, his live-in partner of two years is an actress on the go. Both are familiar with the stresses created during International travel. Brogan’s employer is always assigning him to far off places to assess and write about various traveling venues, some of them more difficult than others. Least of which is the little revolution in The Sudan as he has been dispatched to evaluate a certain train ride for a Backpacker’s Holiday. Nothing endangers North-African trains running on time like a little political unrest.

And in the meantime he has also been conned into smuggling a foreign ‘working girl’ into Australia. Hopefully, not getting himself caught for trafficking a high maintenance call girl into the country. “The Daeng Project” as he calls it, has the shots being called by a shadowy man by the name of Neung—as well as mysterious individuals from the Embassy, who do not seem to exist when he tries to report his progress.

Brogan Abroad is an exciting, fast moving tale of intrigue, airline strikes, kidnapping, political unrest, threatening bad guys, revolutions, and smuggling, that Brogan must weave around an exacting time-table… or else!

Kev Richardson does himself proud on this one. It’s the kind of book you can’t put down. -- JoEllen, Conger Book Reviews (USA), Review Rating: 5 Stars!

Multi-published historical writer, Kev Richardson, has a way of bringing the history of his homeland, Australia, up front and personal. In his latest work, A WELCOME WAR, I was notably impressed with his astute presentation of a young lad’s impressions and compulsion to follow the happenings of World War II. From a ten year old’s  impassioned sense of wonder, to his later assessments, as a young man of eighteen, he recounts his personal translation of the war that changed his life. The book includes many captivating memories from his younger years, and his recorded impressions of the exciting historical happenings of war. -- JoEllen, Conger Book Reviews, USA

 An Epic Life: 5 Stars! A continuing Kev Richardson historical account of his extensive ancestral family tree, down through the evolving times of the industrial revolution brought on by steam engines, hand crafted train coaches, and the ever spreading spider-webbing of railroad tracks upon a raw new continent…New South Wales. This author has an enchanting way of portraying the reality of living, breathing people behind the facts and dates found in your history books. -- JoEllen, Conger Book Reviews (USA)


FOR RELATED BOOKS
Biography & Autobiography Books :: Historical Books

MORE BOOK INFO
ISBN(13-digit): 9781597055147
Copyright: 2010
Book Publisher: Wings ePress
Binding: Perfect
No. of Pages: 298



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