“Insightful and nimble prose. . . [Keneally’s] writing is consistently fresh and engaging. . . . As in Henry James’s novels about children, the combination of knowledge and ignorance creates a chiaroscuro effect that gives the narrative depth. . . Napoleon’s Last Island is old-fashioned in the best sense. . . call[s] to mind the giants of 19th century fiction . . . . Seamlessly unites fiction and the 'truth,' which means in this case that its armature of fact supports its layers of fictional invention as though they were weightless. The delight Keneally took in pulling off this trick shows on every page.”
– The New York Times Book Review
“Deft, engaging. . . unfailingly great reading. . . . Keneally is our greatest living practitioner of historical fiction. . . [and he] finds such eager drama and pathos in the least likely of settings. The book is a complex and mesmerizing success.”
– Christian Science Monitor
“Keneally is one of the finest living English-language writers…and creates an intricate, intense world driven by power plays, culture clashes, secrets and deceptions."
– The Star Tribune
"Keneally’s book gives readers a persuasive account of [a] precocious teenager’s view of the world’s most infamous man. He makes Betsy an engaging and witty presence, and he charts her destiny into her post–St. Helena existence, where the short general’s long shadow continues to affect her life. Like the late E.L. Doctorow, Keneally adapts his style to suit his subject matter, and here the high formality of 19th-century journal-keeping helps bring alive the bittersweet last days of Napoleon."
– Publishers Weekly
Praise for Shame and the Captives :
"Keneally is especially good at rendering the small psychological adjustments made between people embarking on intimacy."
– New York Times Book Review
“If the legendary Schindler’s List was not enough to showcase Thomas Keneally’s literary mastery, then Shame and the Captives surely will….It is clear from the start how thorough are Keneally’s research and cultural understanding; and he showcases them with brilliant, masterful writing....[A]n example of fine writing that has the power to entice modern readers and those interested in the truthful reflection of the human spirit, no matter the place, culture or generation.”
– The New York Daily News
"Once again, Keneally reaches back to the WWII era to stunningly dramatic effect...explores multiple and multifaceted themes of courage, loyalty, empathy, and cultural dissonance."
“Keneally shares his deeply believable and flawed characters' conflicting perspectives sensitively and with great empathy,expressing the full range of humanity in a few hundred pages. He does an extraordinary job of making all his characters compelling and sympathetic, with fully formed back stories, even those whose perspectives are likely to be the most "foreign" to the reader…. Keneally blends history, romance and wartime intrigue in a remarkable piece of historical fiction with a strong sense of place and time.”
– Kirkus (starred review)