Pitcairn Island -- where Fletcher Christian's descendants live -- was until recently a rarely visited British outpost perched in the South Pacific; a tropical paradise.
In 2000, British police, alerted by unsettling reports of rape, descended on the island, one of the most isolated places on Earth and home to just 47 people, mostly related.
Their investigation developed into a major inquiry that uncovered widespread child sexual abuse dating back generations.
Scarcely a Pitcairn man was untainted by the allegations, and almost none of the women had escaped. Yet most residents, including victims' mothers, feigned ignorance, claiming that the abuse -- perpetrated on girls as young as three -- was part of their "way of life".
Pitcairn, it transpired, was a real-life Lord of the Flies story of a place without rules, a society gone badly astray.
Kathy Marks was one of a handful of journalists permitted to live on the island while she reported on the ensuing trials and witnessed Pitcairn's domestic workings first hand.
In Pitcairn: Paradise Lost she documents a society gone badly astray, leaving lives shattered, codes broken and a paradise truly lost- Sydney Writer's Festival
Kathy Marks, Asia-Pacific correspondent for the UK's Independent, was one of only six journalists to be permitted to live on Pitcairn Island during the Pitcairn rape trials.
A small, remote island in the South Pacific, and home to the descendants of Bounty mutineer Fletcher Christian, Pitcairn became the center of attention for the world's media after allegations of rape surfaced in 2000. While reporting on the ensuing trials, Marks witnessed first-hand life on the island.
In her recent book Pitcairn: Paradise Lost, Marks follows the legal and human saga through to its conclusion in 2007. She has described the Pitcairn experience as one of the most riveting of her career.
Kathy Marks, Asia-Pacific correspondent for the UK's Independent, compares the Pitcairn Island -- which Marks calls a society with no external constraints and no internal rule of law -- to Lord of the Flies.
Abuse became normalized in a small society that demanded conformity and necessitated interdependence.