A Terrible Beauty
The penal colony in Western Australia is escape-proof...but that is about to change.
Sentenced to seven years transportation, Mary Claire O'Dwyer is determined to free the Fenian rebels whose support has landed her on a prison ship bound for the end of the earth. She will find allies in a foreign land where a Royal Marine's scarlet coat can be another deception. More
On the voyage to Western Australia, Mary Claire is pressured by Simon Plowman to work for him as a covert spy, but the man who crushed the Fenian uprising in 1867 will inadvertently train her in the art of espionage and deception. She wastes no time in organizing a jail break.
In the U.K., Simon is seen to undermine every important Irish movement. Whether he is manipulating Charles Stuart Parnell or blackmailing Lord Salisbury, he appears to be an agent for the Crown, and when he casts his lot with Edward Carson's Ulster Volunteers, his loyalty goes unquestioned. At the same time, his daughter develops into a radical revolutionary, sneaking around behind her father's back to support the workers during the Dublin Lockout of 1913 and expanding into gun-running for the Citizen Army.
Aware that her mother left a record of her time in Fremantle, Eireann never stops searching, while her father never stops holding her at arm's length. What she perceives as political differences or lack of love is far removed from Simon's real motives. Only when she believes that she may soon face her father across battle lines will Simon introduce her to her parents, and demonstrate just how deceiving appearances can be.