SHORTLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE WINNER OF THE 2006 COMMONWEALTH WRITERS' PRIZE LONGLISTED FOR THE IMPAC DUBLIN PRIZE London, 1806. William Thornhill, happily wedded to his childhood sweetheart Sal, is a waterman on the River Thames. Life is tough but bearable until William makes a mistake, a bad mistake for which he and his family are made to pay dearly. His sentence: to be transported to New South Wales for the term of his natural life. Soon Thornhill, a man no better or worse than most, has to make the most difficult decision of his life.