'He was a Melbourne surgeon. He worked for the Ottoman Empire in the Russo-Turkish War. He was the oldest man at Gallipoli, and took illegal photographs during a nine-hour truce. He repaired Ned Kelly after the Siege of Glenrowan. He cut quite a figure in "Marvellous Melbourne" of the 1880s and 90s. He did remarkable things. He wrote it all down.
'In this verse-portrait of Sir Charles Snodgrass 'Plevna' Ryan (1853-1926), Geoff Page weaves the writing of Ryan together with his own voice as biographer, setting down the life of a man forgotten by history at the same time as reflecting on his role as intermediary.
'Page's sensitive investigation into the lost life of Charles Ryan probes broader topics of mortality, posterity and collective memory. Written in second person and in verse, Page reflects both on the power and the unreliability of storied lives.' (Publication summary)