A Servant of the Governor is an historical novel based on actual events surrounding the Swing Riots and their aftermath. Rather than a sweeping narrative of the riots, it offers an examination of tiny, almost fragmentary areas as it re-creates the lives of two brothers, Joseph and Robert Mason, who led protests against local farmers and clergy in Hampshire.
They were sentenced to transportation to Australia for life. Joseph Mason left behind a wife and infant daughter and while life as an assigned convict on the edge of the frontier in New South Wales was far more humane than in earlier times he felt the anguish of separation in an alien land most cruelly. After six years of exile he returns to England and is reunited with his family, but leaving Australia is emotionally difficult for Joseph Mason.