This book represents the first installment of a planned trilogy that encompasses the progression of transported felon, John Turner Flinn through the various stages of the Tasmanian penal system of the 1840’s and is based upon actual records and newspaper articles from the time. The second novel will culminate in his being awarded a Conditional Pardon, and the final installment, a Free Pardon.
The electronic version of the novel will contain hyperlinks to prime source documents to establish the factual background to a story that “you couldn’t make up”.
The “front story” is a detective tale that details Flinn’s struggle against John Giles Price who is a text book sociopath and occupies the privileged position of Muster Master and Police Magistrate. The interspersed back story is narrated by a series of letters from Flinn to his sons and details how he came to be convicted and exiled.
In the back story, it emerges that
• Flinn was a member, before his incarceration, of a British intelligence service colloquially known as “The Regiment”.
• Flinn is skilled not only in clandestine warfare, but also in the psychological aspects of recruiting individuals who are willing or able to be coerced into betraying their countries.
• Flinn has become adept at the art of blackmailing people into such betrayal either by threatened disclosure of sexual peccadilloes or the exposure of fraud, which Flinn is skilled in detecting.
• “The Regiment” collaborated with guerilla leaders, who are analogous to Afghan War Lords, during the Napoleonic Wars.
• Flinn incurred the wrath of the British Establishment by defending Queen Caroline at her trial for adultery. Caroline’s story parallels that of Princess Diana.
• Flinn’s estranged wife Edwardina, is reputed to be the daughter of Caroline and legitimate heir to the British throne; and
• Flinn’s purported crime, namely “defrauding the Chelsea Hospital Prize Fund”, was in fact, a funding mechanism for secret service operations and his actions were prompted by patriotism rather than greed.
Flinn’s call to action occurs when he is asked to investigate the activities of John Giles Price in a covert manner, as the villain has attracted the suspicion of the governor because of his conduct surrounding the capture and trial of the notorious bush ranger, Martin Cash. Flinn’s cover involves his canvassing the views of potential political dissenters in the numerous pubs of Hobart Town. His exposure to potential opponents of Perfidious Albion together with the corruption he encounters in the police leads him to question his allegiances to the British Empire.
Flinn’s intelligence background and broad exposure to the infinite quirks of human nature and relationships have given him liberal views in matters of human sexual behavior and he embarks on a relationship with an attractive former prostitute who has acquired respectability as a Hobart publican. Flinn and Mary Anne enjoy an unconventional and uninhibited sex life which is based upon tolerance, a sense of humor and consent. This relationship provides juxtaposition with the activities of the villain. John Giles Price is eventually uncovered as a predatory sadistic rapist with a religious fetish and who takes pleasure from destroying the souls of his victims. Subsequent events lead to a hostage rescue scenario where Flinn must rely upon his skills with a rifle, together with his wits and tactical ability against a ruthless villain with a technological edge, if he is to save innocents. However, both Flinn and Giles Price must survive to fight another day if the trilogy is to continue.