The Lilliputians

India Dark (AUS & UK)


Young adult - Historical fiction


Young Zubaan

A story of secrets, lies and lost innocence.

MADRAS 1910: Poesy Swift and Tilly Sweetrick are caught up in a scandal that will change their lives forever.

Singing and dancing across a hundred stages as members of a troupe of child performers, they travel into the heart of India. But as one disaster follows another, money runs short and tempers fray. What must the girls do to protect themselves and how many lives will be ruined if they try to break free?

Based on a true story, The Lilliptuians recreates shifting friendships, the clash of innocence versus experience, set against the backdrop of India in the age of Empire.

Published in Australia & the UK as India Dark  the novel tells the story of twenty-nine young performers, aged between seven and eighteen years of age, who boarded a steam ship at Port Melbourne in July 1909. The real children were members of Pollard’s Lilliputian Opera Company, a famous Australian theatre company that is recreated as Perceval’s Lilliputian Opera Company in this book. The children were meant to be setting out on a two-year world tour but eight months later, the tour ended in scandal in South India.


  • NSW Premier’s History Award – Winner - The Young People’s History Prize 2011
  • Children's Book Council of Australia Notable Book 2011

Reviews of The Lilliputians

  • A powerful and convincing transformation of fact to fiction… a fascinating tale.
    ABC Radio
  • Murray’s words are elegant and precise, with a wonderful sense for cadences. Delightful turn of phrases, the ironic wit and keen insights ensure that there is no dull moment.
    Murray is truly a master of her craft.
    Bhavana Sharma - The Hindu
  • Beautifully written and impeccably researched, it shows us that there is always more than one side to a story, particularly where emotions are involved. Murray has given us a real gem.
    Caroline Baum - Good Reading Magazine

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