This is the story of Margaret Catchpole, born into a smugglers' world in Suffolk in the late 1700s. As the valued servant of a wealthy family and a friend of criminals, Margaret leads a double life that inevitably brings about her downfall, and she is sentenced to hang not once, but twice. But she escapes the gallows and is transported with other convicts to Australia.
A wonderful adventure story, Scapegallows takes inspiration from the life of the real Margaret Catchpole. A woman who lived by her wits, she was a slip-gibbet, a scapegallows.
Carol Birch was born in Manchester. Author of seven novels, she has won the David Higham Award, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize and was longlisted for the 2003 ManBooker Prize. She lives in Lancaster.