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Synopsis

A gripping tale of a daring heroine testing her wits against a backdrop of secrets, spies and smugglers in perilous Far North Queensland in the late nineteenth century and based on a true story ... A daring heroine tests her wits against secrets, spies and smugglers on a remote Australian island 'It's peculiar, the assumptions we all make. For instance, how, in a diary, the truth bone's connected to the hand bone ... You shouldn't believe everything you read.' 1879, Queensland. Fleeing her family home, 19-year-old Mary Oxnam has few prospects and no connections. Plain and penniless, she must rely on her audacious wit and fierce intelligence to survive. Mary soon finds work as a pianist in a Cooktown brothel, a cover for more lucrative employment as a spy into smuggling operations. Within a year she has moved to Lizard Island, locked into a marriage of convenience. It's a rough, isolated place, crawling with hidden enemies - and unexpected temptation. Mary dreams of making enough money to live on her own terms, far from the murky world of espionage in which she has become embroiled. But as the plot of her secret employers nears fruition, the stakes climb ever higher and Mary's life is in great danger. Can her daring and luck save her one last time? Drawing on the little-known history of lawless Far North Queensland and based on the true story of a remarkable woman and her intriguing diary, tHE SECREt FAtE OF MARY WAtSON is a thrilling tale of peril and intrigue, infused with a heady combination of beauty and foreboding. By the winner of a Victorian Premier's Literary Award, 2007

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