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In August 1905 a party of young men set sail for England. Amongst them were ordinary farmers and bootmakers, a miner and a bank clerk. Together they made up the All Blacks, an unknown rugby team from Auckland, New Zealand. And they had come to show the world what they could do.

What they didn’t know was that they were bound for fame.

The first game was in Devon, ‘played in golden farm light, a surprising victory’. By December they had become the ‘wonderful All Blacks’ who had beaten Yorkshire 40-0, England 15-0 and Ireland 15-0. People stopped them in the streets.

In this melding of true history and imagination, Lloyd Jones has recreated an unforgettable journey from innocence to celebrity.


This starkly beautiful book . . . tackles the origin of myth, the creation and nature of man-made beauty, and the sense of self New Zealanders have both as individuals and as a nation
The Age
'Impressionistic and very vivid account of the birth of a sporting legend'
Good Book Guide
'Jones often expresses himself in beautifully clear prose poetry'
The Tablet
Jones proves sly, engaging, worth-reading and even re-reading
London Review of Books
Being a truthful writer, Jones sees nothing; neither his heroes nor his villains in black and white. His is a bold inquiry into the way that we construct and repair our communities, and ourselves, with stories old and new
The Times
Lloyd Jones gives the tired post-colonial themes of self-reinvention ... a fresh, ingenious twist but his real achievement is bringing life and depth to his characters
Sunday Telegraph
Lloyd Jones brings to life the transformative power of fiction
Sunday Times
Sally Bunn. Shropshire Star
Sally Bunn. Shropshire Star
'Jones often expresses himself in beautifully clear prose poetry'
The Tablet