Set the bait. Spring the trap. Derail history.
The Kelly Gang have been on the run for months and are the most wanted men in the British Empire. No expense has been spared in the hunt to bring them to justice. With the introduction of highly specialised trackers to hunt them and rumours of treachery amongst their supporters, the outlaws are desperate. Soon their leader, Ned Kelly, will hatch a plan that will not only bring an end to the pursuit, but will leave an indelible mark on the history of Australia. Glenrowan is the story of how one man’s burning obsession can have far reaching consequences, and how a tiny town between towns became as iconic as Gettysburg or Waterloo.
- Year of publication: 2020
- ISBN: 978-0-646-82170-2
- Genre: Historical Fiction
Glenrowan is the debut novel by Aidan Phelan and infuses meticulous historical knowledge with a literary mindset and flashes of Gaelic mythology all combined in a study of how the infamous twelve hour siege became such a huge cultural touchstone in Australia.
The novel began life as a side project while the author was developing a feature film called The Legend of Ned Kelly with Matthew Holmes and Steve Jager. Central to its premise was the idea of what exactly is the legend of Ned Kelly. Aidan surmised that the legend was that an outlaw dressed in homemade armour faced off against an army of police in order to defend his mates and to stand up for his rights. From there began the process of slicing away the layers of myth to find the truth at its core and in so doing discover what the real Glenrowan story was all about.
“It’s one of the most infamous events in Australian history but so few people have really understand what happened. There’s more to history than names and dates on a page,” the author states, “This book takes figures from history and puts flesh on their bones. They are living, breathing people with beliefs, desires, fears and flaws. Readers will finally see a side to these individuals that make them relatable.”
The book highlights many overlooked figures of the story such as Ann Jones, whose inn was the scene of the tragedy.
“What many don’t realise is that the aftermath of the siege still directly impacted the people involved decades later. In some cases resulting in severe mental illness and death. It’s about much more than the iconic image of Ned Kelly in his armour with guns blazing,” said Phelan.
The film rights to the novel have already been obtained by Two Tone Pictures, which produced The Legend of Ben Hall in 2016. With Phelan working alongside director Matthew Holmes on the scripts, the pair will
be adapting the novel into a proposed six-part limited series for streaming.
“Aidan’s approach to adapting history aligns perfectly with my own. His novel is masterwork of rich characterisation, exquisite detail and gripping storytelling that never loses sight of the facts. He has breathed life into this history in a way I’ve not read before,” says director Holmes.
Glenrowan is available to order online via the official website.
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