The Catalpa Rescue: a triumph against all odds
IT WAS one of the most extraordinary and inspirational prison breaks in Australian history, The Catalpa Rescue.
Australian author Peter FitzSimons tells the engaging true story of the members of the Clan-na-Gael.
It's New York in 1874.
The agitators for Irish freedom from the English yoke hatch a daring plan to free six Irish political prisoners from the most remote prison in the British Empire, Fremantle Prison in Western Australia.
Under the guise of a whale hunt, Captain Anthony sets sail on the Catalpa.
His mission is to rescue the men from the stone walls of this hell on earth known to the inmates as a 'living tomb'.
What follows is one of history's most stirring sagas.
It splices Irish, American, British and Australian history together in its climactic moment.
For Ireland, which had suffered English occupation for 700 years, a successful escape was an inspirational call to arms.
For America it was a chance to slap back at Britain for its support of the south in the Civil War.
For England, a humiliation.
And for a young Australia, still not sure if it was Great Britain in the South Seas or worthy of being an independent country in its own right, it was proof that Great Britain was not unbeatable.
FitzSimons's uses his trademark combination of arresting history and storytelling verve to share the tale of rescue.
It's courage and cunning, the fight for independence and the triumph of good men, against all odds.
Published by Hachette Australia, The Catalpa Rescue is available in paperback RRP$34.99 and ebook RRP$16.99.