In 1824 two men sailed from England to Hobart Town in Tasmania to build a saw mill. Ten years later they had built two mills, Australia's oldest brewery, Australia's oldest theatre, facilitated the writing of Australia's first novel, made the first 3D representation of a kangaroo on the first Tasmanian silver coin and initiated Tasmania's greatest lost treasure legend.
One of these men was Major Hugh Macintosh, an ex-officer of the British East India Company, a veteran and hero of some of India's bloodiest battles, the Siege of Seringapatam, the Battle of Assaye, and the Siege of Gwalior Fort. A real life version of Bernard Cornwell's famous Sharpe character, Macintosh saved the Duke of Wellington twice, once at Seringpatam and again at Assaye. After India Macintosh went to Persia as a military advisor to the Shah; there he became a close friend and advisor of the Crown Prince of Persia Abbas Mirza and fought along side him in many battles before his wounds forced him to return to England. As well as a soldier Macintosh was also a highly cultured man, a painter, a violinist, fluent in five languages and in love with Mary Reibey, a poor convict girl who by 1820 had become Australia's richest business woman.
The other man was Macintosh's brother-in-law Peter Degraves, an ambitious businessman, brilliant engineer, inventor, architect, mathematician and conman. He was a bully, a bankrupt burglar, prolific liar and by 1850 one of Australia's richest, most ruthless, men.
This book, the result of the author's research for his Masters Degree in History, is a fascinating read that will take you on two amazing journeys as you follow Degraves and Macintosh's lives, lives filled with adventure, romance, tragedy and endeavour in the world of the expanding British Empire. It is filled with many interesting side stories such as the inspiration for Dr Jeckle and Mr Hyde (Degraves' father); the inspiration for Frankenstein (Macintosh's father-in-law); the writing of Australia's first novel by the tragic Henry Savery and life aboard the notorious slave ship the " Pearl ". The book is richly illustrated with 18th and 19th century images.