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It is 1846: the ship was bound for Australia. Aboard were Josh Retallick and Miriam Thackeray, prisoners destined for the convict settlements . . . until the random hand of fate wrecked their vessel on the Skeleton Coast of South West Africa.

Far from the brooding Bodmin Moor, Josh and Miriam are strangers in a strange and hostile land, an alien world of Bushmen and Hereros, of foraging Boers and greedy traders, of ivory tusks and smuggled guns . . .