Captain Thunderbolt & His Lady

The true story of bushrangers Frederick Ward and Mary Ann Bugg


Captain Thunderbolt and His Lady is being turned into

an Australian western TV series

in the style of the Coen brothers. 

He was the gentleman bushranger ... she was the woman who rode with him. This is the true story of Captain Thunderbolt and his lady.

'Bail up!' demanded Captain Thunderbolt before he shouted the bar with the innkeeper's own profits. Driven into banditry by injustice, this colonial Robin Hood, magnificent horseman and skilled bushman, was celebrated by his victims as vigourously as he was hunted by the law.
  She was his chief lieutenant, his eyes and his ears. Intelligent and beautiful, Mary Ann Bugg dressed like a man, rode like a man, and helped keep Thunderbolt ahead of the troopers and trackers intent on pursuing him to his end. Until one day ....
  Compelling and richly detailed, Captain Thunderbolt and his Lady has it all – action, drama, and two protagonists who defied social conventions for freedom. This is an unputdownable story of an extraordinary partnership and a fresh retelling of one of Australia's greatest bushranging stories.

Allen & Unwin, 2011


Trade paperback




Australian purchases

(trade paperback)

RRP: $33.00

Website discount:


International & Kindle

Book Reviews

  • What a well-written cracking read!
    Emeritus Professor Bruce Kercher, Macquarie University

  • A compelling story.
    Sydney Morning Herald, Australia

  • Baxter's book reads like a novel as she peels back layers of long unchallenged folk tales.
    Newcastle Herald, Australia

  • This compelling book by historian Carol Baxter may be read at several levels. It is a valuable contribution to colonial history. It is a dramatic retelling of the saga of Fred Ward, or Captain Thunderbolt ... But more than that, the author has used her genealogical skills to rescue from the records the almost forgotten story of Mary Ann Bugg ... Carol Baxter has written an excellent study of life on both the geographical and the racial frontier of colonial society.
    Canberra Times, Australia

  • If you have a passion for Australian history, Carol Baxter ... has extensively researched this period of colonial development and written an engrossing account of the bushranger and the woman behind the man. Baxter's fresh insight into Aboriginal culture and their interaction with convicts and colonial government is fascinating ... This is the story of good crime fiction with action, slaughter, rough justice, robbery, betrayal and a couple who could ride like the wind and read the bush like no other.
    Manly Daily, Australia

  • Carol Baxter's book Captain Thunderbolt and his Lady is a detailed and enthralling biography of Thunderbolt and his "wife" Mary Ann Bugg.
    Out of Shadows (Australian blog): A personal journal into the nature of STORY in various media

  • A great read.
    Marie-Claire, Australia