The true story of one remarkable family’s century of adventure.

“Moira Taylor’s meticulous research has uncovered a remarkable tale about the lives of her ancestors that at time will leave you gasping in disbelief.” – 5 Star review Amazon.co.uk. 2019, UK

“Sailors, Settlers & Sinners will be a valuable contribution adding another layer to the history of New Zealand.” – 5 Star review Amazon.co.uk. 2019, USA.

A past forgotten and a book to cherish.


Moira Taylor exhibits her wide-ranging historical research in engaging prose as she delves into the extraordinary lives of some of her ancestors, who were one of the earlier families to settle in New Zealand. Moira’s historical account covers three generations of the Hall family, using private letters and personal journals to reignite a rich parade of characters and their stories of adventure, false identity, primitive surgery, adultery, drug abuse, high political achievement and low political manoeuvring.

Drawing on a remarkable collection of family material, augmented by other sources, Sailors, Settlers & Sinners also reveals Britain’s maritime history during the age of sail, as voyages move from Hull to Hamburg, the Baltic, Mediterranean and Russia; from Liverpool to North and South America; from London to India, Australia and New Zealand.

Beginning in the port of Hull in East Yorkshire during the French Revolution, Moira traces the life of George Hall, a mariner captured during the Napoleonic Wars in France, his six years of captivity and his daring escape, as well as the maritime careers of his two sons, George and Thomas, when Britain was expanding as a maritime and colonial power. Drawn into their tale of human enterprise in the face of heart-breaking and devastating set-backs, this impeccably detailed and beautifully written account is proof of courage and determination as a route to worthwhile achievements.

The author, Moira Taylor (née Hall), is the great-great-granddaughter of Captain George Hall who escaped from France in 1810, the great-granddaughter of Captain Thomas Williamson Hall, who settled as a pastoralist in Timaru, New Zealand, and the great-great niece of Sir John Hall, the former New Zealand premier who advocated for and assisted women to get the vote in 1893.

Packed with intricate and telling detail, and lavishly illustrated with nearly 100 illustrations (including early daguerreotypes, paintings, photos, maps and maritime documents), Sailors, Settlers & Sinners will appeal to anyone interested in family, maritime and colonial history.

A reminder of how true life can be more extraordinary than fiction.

Available on Amazon.co.uk  
Paperback Edition: £9.99 
Kindle Edition: £7.99

Published in May 2019, by KDP. 
Typesetting and cover design: Spiffing Covers.

About the Author

Moira Taylor (née Hall) was born in New Zealand and now lives in London. She graduated with a BA and post-graduate Diploma in Journalism from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand.

She was a reporter on the Christchurch Star newspaper before going to England as the Robert Bell Travelling Scholar in Journalism, where she worked for the New Zealand Press Association, based in London. In addition to book reviews for Radio New Zealand and articles for The New Zealand Listener, she wrote and recorded a radio documentary, Her Bright Image: Impressions of Katherine Mansfield, recently rebroadcast as part of New Zealand’s KM 130 commemoration of the New Zealand-born writer.

In 1995 she was appointed the first Textbook Development Editor for the UK academic publisher Routledge and remained a Senior Development Editor until 2011. Her chapter, ‘A View from Inside’, was published in Instead of Fullstops (ed. Susan Sellers), Women’s Press (1996). From 2013-2016 she was Secretary of the New Zealand Studies Network in London. She has contributed articles to the international Katherine Mansfield Society’s newsletter, to its online critical journal Tinakori and to the forthcoming Collected Letters of Katherine Mansfield from Edinburgh University Press (eds Claire Davison and Gerri Kimber).

She is married to Brent Taylor (Emeritus Professor at University College London) and has two children and five grandchildren.

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