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Jock Serong

  • awardWinner, Historia Award for Historical Crime Fiction, France, 2021
  • awardShortlisted, Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize, United Kingdom, 2019
  • awardLonglisted, Ned Kelly Awards, Best Crime, 2019
  • awardLonglisted, Voss Literary Prize, 2019
  • Preservation, based on the true story of the wreck of the Sydney Cove, sees master storyteller Jock Serong turn his talents to historical narrative.

    Read a sample chapter from Preservation here.

    On a beach not far from the isolated settlement of Sydney in 1797, a fishing boat picks up three shipwreck survivors, distressed and terribly injured. They have walked hundreds of miles across a landscape whose features—and inhabitants—they have no way of comprehending. They have lost fourteen companions along the way. Their accounts of the ordeal are evasive.

    It is Lieutenant Joshua Grayling’s task to investigate the story. He comes to realise that those fourteen deaths were contrived by one calculating mind and, as the full horror of the men’s journey emerges, he begins to wonder whether the ruthless killer poses a danger to his own family.


    3CR interview
    3RRR: Backstory (09:10)
    ABC Hobart: Your Afternoon (4:30)
    ABC Melbourne: The Friday Review (39:45)
    ABC Radio National: Blueprint for Living
    ABC Radio National: The Bookshelf
    Age ‘Serong's characters are compelling and, in his reimagining, Preservation gives voice to those who, in the literature of the time, were largely voiceless’
    ANZ Litlovers
    Australian ($) ‘Preservation is an impressive novel, one that revels in the power of narrative to enlighten, horrify and enthral’
    Australian Book Review
    Don’t Shoot the Messenger
    Final Draft: Great Conversations 
    Readings: ‘Full of tension and menace.’
    Saturday Paper
    Wheeler Centre podcast 

    Jock Serong
    About the Author

    Jock Serong’s novels have received the ARA Historical Novel Prize, the Colin Roderick Award, the Ned Kelly Award for First Fiction and, internationally, the inaugural Staunch Prize (UK) and the Historia Award for Historical Crime Fiction (France). He lives with his family on Victoria’s far west coast.

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    Text publication date:
    6 August 2019
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    Praise for Jock Serong

    ‘Serong’s prose is evocative, his dialogue convincing.’

    ‘Full of tension and menace.’

    ‘A riveting and brutal tale.’

    ‘Serong is a talented storyteller.’

    ‘One of Australia’s most innovative and ambitious crime writers.’


    ‘Although Serong’s Preservation and Grenville’s The Secret River differ in style, approach and period, they share both a gripping sense of narrative and an unflinching commitment to honestly portraying the bewildering complexity of early encounters between European settlers and indigenous Australians.’

    ‘A great work of fiction to prompt a further dive into the history books.’

    ‘Imaginatively based on the true story of the wreck of the Sydney Cove…it is twisty and gruesome and the identity thief Figge is a magnificently horrible individual’

    ‘A beautifully written, sometimes chilling, story inspired by the shipwreck of the Sydney Cove, and the disappearance of 14 of its 17 survivors.’

    Other editions ofPreservation
    • Preservation
      ISBN: 9781925774030
      29 October 2018
      Buy ebook