Peter Burke on the atheist in ‘The Silk Merchant’s Son’

In 1846, linguistics professor Fabrice Cleriquot is despatched from Lyon to the Swan River Colony, sent away with a box full of silkworms to stop him from bringing more disgrace upon the family. Accompanying him on board the Elizabeth are twenty-eight mismatched and misguided Catholic missionaries including Dom Salvado, who seeks to create a Spanish Benedictine monastery deep in the bush, and the Irish Sisters of Mercy, who are fleeing a dreadful famine. Given the job of distributing a huge donation from a wealthy benefactress, Fabrice bears witness to the folly of his travelling companions whose presumptuous attempts to rescue the colony and the original inhabitants from themselves, can only lead to tragedy.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Peter Burke about the reality of the Swan River colony in 1845, the various groups of missionaries and their competing interests in the battle for the souls of the indigenous people and the free settlers, and exploring different points of view through historical fiction.

Author: Peter Burke

Category: Fiction & related items

Book Format: Paperback / softback

Publisher: Fremantle Press

ISBN: 9781760991678

RRP: $32.99

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Gregory Dobbs

Gregory Dobbs is a musician, producer and podcaster who likes to read books. In his spare time, he enjoys making homes for frogs, spiders, and Eastern Blue-tongued lizards. Gregory also likes looking at trees and bicycles.

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