The Daughters of Mars is a moving, meaty story of two Australian
sisters who volunteer as nurses during World War 1. I was enthralled from page
one with its combo of plot, character and rich historical setting. The women
travel from Australia to Egypt to Europe and back again and we see the
changing, volatile world through their eyes. This book is a strong and
satisfying read that I think lots of readers will love.
In what is perhaps “the best novel of his career” (The Spectator), the acclaimed author of Schindler’s List tells the unforgettable story of two sisters whose lives are transformed by the cataclysm of the first world war.
In 1915, Naomi and Sally Durance, 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. Amid the carnage, the sisters’ tenuous bond strengthens as they bravely face extreme danger and hostility—sometimes from their own side. There is great humor and compassion, too, and the inspiring example of the incredible women they serve alongside. In France, each meets an exceptional man, the kind for whom she might relinquish her newfound independence—if only they all survive.
At once vast in scope and extraordinarily intimate, The Daughters of Mars is a remarkable novel about suffering and transcendence, despair and triumph, and the simple acts of decency that make us human even in a world gone mad.
About the Author
Thomas Keneally began his writing career in 1964 and has published thirty-three novels since, most recently Crimes of the Father, Napoleon’s Last Island, Shame and the Captives, and the New York Times bestselling The Daughters of Mars. He is also the author of 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.
“Poignant . . . masterly . . . epic . . . [Keneally] has rescued forgotten heroines from obscurity and briefly placed them center stage.” — The New York Times Book Review
“A burly, captivating saga of Australian nurses on the front lines of World War I... Inscribed with the stately, benign authority of an eminent tale-spinner. ” — Wall Street Journal
“Magnificent… a stunning performance, full of suspense, searing particulars, and deep emotion.… The huge talents of Thomas Keneally are everywhere on display.” — The Guardian
"The Daughters of Mars is the work of a master storyteller, sharing a tale that is simultaneously sprawling and intimate." — NPR
"[A] poignant novel." — New York Times, Editor's Choice
“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
"An epic, sweeping book." — LA Times
“Extraordinarily moving…Keneally isa master of character development and period detail…. Fans of Downton Abbey and Gallipoli alike will find much to admire in Keneally’s fast-moving, flawlessly written pages.” — Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“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
“Expansive and brilliant…a masterpiece that is sure to rank among Keneally’s best works. “ — Bookpage
"Greatly detailed... boasts authentic characters set in equally authentic locations." — Booklist
“Like the warriors of Homer’s Iliad, Keneally gives readers a sense of the vast and continuous casualties dealt by war and reminds us that each soldier was once a boy armed with little more than a pitchfork.” — The Missourian
"Keneally has summoned all of his ample talent to write a sweeping novel of World War I." — Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“By Page 6, readers can put up their feet and relax. They know they're in the reassuring hands of a master storyteller, and a fascinating read lies ahead. “ — San Jose Mercury News