From the acclaimed author of Schindler's List, the epic, unforgettable story of two sisters from Australia, both trained nurses, whose lives are transformed by the cataclysm of the first World War.
In 1915, 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. Used to tending the sick as they are, nothing could have prepared them for what they confront, first near Gallipoli, then on the Western Front.
Yet amid the carnage, Naomi and Sally Durance become the friends they never were at home and find themselves courageous in the face of extreme danger, as well as the hostility they encounter 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 precious independence - if only they all survive.
At once vast in scope and extraordinarily intimate, The Daughters of Mars brings World War I to vivid, concrete life from an unusual perspective. A searing and profoundly moving tale, it pays tribute to men and women of extraordinary moral resilience, even in the face of the incomprehensible horrors of modern war.
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"The horrific butcher's bill of WWI trench fighting...is at the heart of this moving epic novel from the author of Schindler's List." - Publishers Weekly
"Starred Review. Extraordinarily moving Keneally is a master of character development and period... Fans of Downton Abbey and Gallipoli alike will find much to admire in Keneally's fast-moving, flawlessly written pages." - Kirkus
"Magnificent a stunning performance, full of suspense, searing particulars, and deep emotion. The huge talents of Thomas Keneally are everywhere on display." - The Guardian
"May be the best novel of Keneally's career a book that aims for, and achieves, real grandeur." - The Spectator, One of the Best Books of 2012
"Superbly exciting to read... An unmissable, unforgettable tribute." - The Times, London
"Not only is The Daughters of Mars one of the most ambitious novels in a career that stretches back to 1964, but it might even be the best The result is something few other authors would aim for, let alone achieve: genuine grandeur." - The Telegraph
"A big and brutal book, a new prism through which to think about World War I breathtaking magnificent and almost magical. There are moments of joy, of pleasure, that make you look up from their page for a while to arrest and savour their sensation." - The Australian
"Along with a Tolstoyan ability to describe the horrors of battle, this amazing book also has an extraordinary intimacy, especially in the relationship between the sisters...an altogether towering achievement." - A.N. Wilson
"Now, at last and triumphantly, there is a full-scale Keneally novel of the Great War...All of it is handled by Keneally with calm mastery. If epic is no longer a literary category that fits this world, The Daughters of Mars nonetheless has a tragic and humane span that few recent novels have attempted, let alone equalled." - Canberra Times
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Thomas Keneally began his writing career in 1964 and has published thirty-one novels since. They include Schindler's List, which won the Booker Prize in 1982, The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, Gossip from the Forest, and Confederates, all of which were shortlisted for the Booker Prize. He has also written several works of nonfiction, including his boyhood memoir, Homebush Boy, The Commonwealth of Thieves, and Searching for Schindler. He is married with two daughters and lives in Sydney, Australia.
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