Australian Convict Tale Expands Centuries-Old Multimedia Reach

The novel For the Term of His Natural Life by Marcus Clarke has remained in active print since it was first published Down Under in 1874. It has also been sourced along the way for a 1908 Australian short, 1927 silent feature, 1983 Australian miniseries and, this month, updated $13.99 iPad App.

Watching over the tablet incarnations is Patricia Payne. Originally from Australia and currently based in Los Angeles, she produced and co-wrote the aforementioned miniseries starring Anthony Perkins, Patrick Macnee and Samantha Eggar. From this week’s announcement:

In addition to introducing a condensed 300-page version of Clarke’s classic novel, the App also offers over 40 interactive footnotes, 19 video notes, bios as well as more than 100 photos, maps, a bonus song and historical documents. Eighteen video clips from the miniseries and highlights from the 1927 silent film are also interwoven.

The novel, which we have not read, sounds like a worthy bookshelf companion to Victor Hugo‘s Les Miserables. Protagonist Rufus Dawes pursues a quest for freedom that “never dies” after being falsely convicted of murder in 19th century London and packed off to the Port Arthur penal settlement in Tasmania, Australia. Info about the iPad App here.