Legacy of Strangers

Book Cover


19th Century

David Burke-Kennedy

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As mid 19th century English and Irish migrants flee their homelands for the colonies the hopes of four strangers are dashed as they get swept up in a world of violence, murder, illicit romance and betrayal. As they struggle to survive, their paths cross with disastrous and fatal outcomes.


Action,Crime,Epic,Historical Fiction,Romance

Short Summary

An attack and rescue on a Dublin street, a boy's hanging outside Newgate prison for a petty crime; and young house maids secret liaisons with guests introduce us to the fractured existence of our main characters before fate sets them on a journey that will change their lives forever.

The stories climax with an attack on a prostitute that starts a fire that destroys Auckland's waterfront and ends a crime wave. The inferno sparks an unlikely liaison after unhappy love affairs and struggles for survival ... with an unexpected springboard into the next novel in the series.


Mid-19th century London, Dublin, Melbourne and Auckland

Based on a True Story


Plot - Premise

Rags to Riches,Tragedy,Quest

Plot - Other Elements


Mature Audience Themes

Information not completed

Main Character Details

Name: Lydia Hallet

Age: teens into late 20's over time

Gender: Female

Role: Protagonist

Key Traits: Desperate,Faithful,Naive,Uneducated,Romantic,Secretive,Aspiring

Additional Character Details

Name: Jarlath Breen

Age: teens into late 20's over time

Gender: Male

Role: Protagonist

Key Traits: Adventurous,Aspiring,Charming,Confident,Decisive,Educated,Masculine,Romantic,Secretive,Visionary

Additional Character Details

Name: Edwin Collier

Age: teens into late 20's over time

Gender: Male

Role: antagonist

Key Traits: Aspiring,Aggressive,Charming,Complex,Criminal,Desperate,Insecure,Underdog,Uneducated,Secretive

Additional Character Details

Name: Ruth Amery

Age: late 20's

Gender: Female

Role: tempter

Key Traits: Insecure,Seductive,Uneducated,Desperate

Development Pitch

Read this and you'll appreciate why others say that Legacy of Strangers would make a compelling TV series if not movie. It's written that way - thanks to the writer's media background - with an episodic structure involving real and fictional characters against an authentic backdrop of English and Irish migration to colonial Australia and Auckland, New Zealand. (Think of Bryce Courtenay novels or some of the historical sagas you've enjoyed most.) You may think some of the storyline is implausible. But it's based on little-known documented fact or events and involves reputable as well as unsavoury identities of the era. And the sub-plots - illicit romance between Catholic and Jew, illegitimate offspring, crime and punishment - provide an unexpected springboard into the next novel that begins in the shanghai era of San Francisco. Readers and reviewers tell me they like the way the story gathers momentum; and the structure involving multiple stories kept them hanging on to see what happens next. If only they'd post reviews! Unfortunately, I'm not experienced or skilled at script-writing. But then, you no doubt know who could turn this into a winner.

About The Author

David Burke-Kennedy is an Australian-born New Zealander whose career spans over 40 years simultaneously in the news media as an award-winning broadcaster and journalist and as an advertising creative and writer. He has written for magazines and papers in the USA and UK as well as New Zealand.

Target Audiences

Age: 35-54,55+,18-34

Target Gender: Female Leaning,Universal

Group Specific

Information not completed

Publishing Details

Status: Yes: self-published

Publisher: Amazon

Year Published: 2017

Hard Copy Available