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Old 08-16-2010, 11:00 AM   #1
Richard Herley
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Free book: The Penal Colony by Richard Herley

The Penal Colony, a professionally written and proofed 103,000-word thriller, is free to download at Smashwords. It is the basis of the futuristic Ray Liotta movie No Escape – but there is much more to the book than mere adventure, for it also examines the spiritual development of an ordinary man catapulted into extraordinary circumstances.

Here is the cover blurb from the first hardback edition of 1987 (it has been published all over the world and in various languages):

It is 1997. The British government now runs island prison colonies to take dangerous offenders from its overcrowded mainland jails.

Among all these colonies, Sert, 25 miles off the north Cornish coast, has the worst reputation. There are no warders. Satellite technology is used to keep the convicts under watch. New arrivals are dumped by helicopter and must learn to survive as best they can. To Sert, one afternoon in July, is brought Anthony John Routledge, sentenced for a sex-murder he did not commit. Routledge knows he is here for ever. And he knows he must quickly forget the rules of civilized life. But not all the islanders are savages. Under the charismatic leadership of one man a community has evolved. A community with harsh and unyielding rules, peopled by resourceful men for whom the hopeless dream of escape may not be so hopeless after all ...


Some readers' reviews are here, and here is a brief quote from a review by Roger Miller of the Milwaukee Journal:

If I could bring myself to put “perfect” in front of any noun, which I can’t, I’d be tempted to use it here. The Penal Colony came into the office absolutely unheralded, with little promotion or publicity, which usually means the publisher has few hopes for it. I really think this novel is in a class with Walter Miller’s A Canticle for Leibowitz, whose intellectual qualities it shares. I wish for it the same long-lasting fame and respect.

I have made this book available for nothing, like The Stone Arrow, to bring readers to my other books at Smashwords. If you like The Penal Colony, I'd much appreciate a Smashwords review to raise its profile for those browsing the site for free reads!
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Old 08-16-2010, 11:10 AM   #2
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A very enjoyable and worthwhile read imho.

Kudos to Richard for making it available!
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Old 08-16-2010, 11:47 AM   #3
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I read this some time ago, an excellent and very thought provoking book. A solid 5 stars from me.
(Shame the UK government could not use the idea).

Have also read the rest of the books which are all good reads.
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Old 08-16-2010, 02:10 PM   #4
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Bluesman7, Columbus,

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Old 08-16-2010, 02:21 PM   #5
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'The Penal Colony' was possibly the best novel I read last year - it deserves the widest readership it can get, and I too would highly recommend it.
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Old 08-16-2010, 03:22 PM   #6
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Thank you, its now on my TBR list. I will review it once read.
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Old 08-16-2010, 03:48 PM   #7
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I just downloaded your book and when I finish it, I will post. Thanks!
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Old 08-16-2010, 04:34 PM   #8
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Sounds like a mix of Moon is a Harsh Mistress and Lord of the Flies... And given the high praise in this thread, I'm all over this one. I'll post a review on Smashwords when I'm done. Thank you for sharing!
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Old 08-16-2010, 05:08 PM   #9
Richard Herley
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Thank you, everybody, for your interest!
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Old 08-16-2010, 06:33 PM   #10
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Richard, thanks for the freebie. I was actually looking at your smashwords profile yesterday and saw this. I really enjoyed Refuge, and I'm sure I'll enjoy The Penal Colony as well. Just don't offer Tide Mill for free so I can buy that!
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Old 08-16-2010, 08:01 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilac_jive View Post
Just don't offer Tide Mill for free so I can buy that!
The Tide Mill is my favorite of Richard's many wonderful novels and the best book I read all of last year. It's well worth the $2.99 price, lilac_jive!

You should enjoy The Penal Colony, too. It's worlds apart from The Tide Mill (closer in tone to Refuge), but all of Richard's books are thoughtful and carefully crafted and enormously entertaining!
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Old 08-16-2010, 09:08 PM   #12
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The Tide Mill is my favorite of Richard's many wonderful novels and the best book I read all of last year. It's well worth the $2.99 price, lilac_jive!

You should enjoy The Penal Colony, too. It's worlds apart from The Tide Mill (closer in tone to Refuge), but all of Richard's books are thoughtful and carefully crafted and enormously entertaining!
It's definitely on my list!
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Old 08-16-2010, 09:49 PM   #13
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I read it a while ago (from Manybooks?). Loved it!
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Old 08-17-2010, 01:11 AM   #14
Richard Herley
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Wow! What can I say?
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Old 08-17-2010, 01:15 AM   #15
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Thanks Richard, I have downloaded it and look forward to reading it soon. Cheers
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