The true story of one of history’s most notorious mutinies is revealed in this riveting “nautical murder mystery” (USA Today).
 
In May 1841, the Massachusetts whaleship Sharon set out for the whaling ground of the northwestern Pacific. A year later, while most of the crew was out hunting, Capt. Howes Norris was brutally murdered. When the men in the whaleboats returned to the ship, they found four crew members on board, three of whom were covered in blood, the other screaming from atop the mast.
 
Single-handedly, the third officer launched a surprise attack to recapture the Sharon, killing two of the attackers and subduing the other. An American investigation into the murder was never conducted—even when the Sharon returned home three years later, with only four of the original twenty-nine-man crew on board.
 
Now, an award-winning maritime historian dramatically re-creates the mystery of the ill-fated whaleship—and reveals a voyage filled with savagery under the command of one of the most ruthless captains to sail the high seas.
 
“When the American whaleship Sharon arrived at Sydney in December 1842, the world first heard of the shocking murder of the captain by several Pacific island natives serving on the crew. Chalking it up to the savage nature of the islanders, no one bothered to investigate. Druett, a widely published maritime historian, retells the familiar story of how the mutineers were overcome but delves deeper into the details of the infamous expedition . . . Druett’s account of the incident will appeal to those looking for a good drama, but also to those analytically minded skeptics inclined to ask questions and dig below the surface.” —Booklist
 
“Shocking and very satisfying.” —Richard Zack, author of The Pirate Hunter
With her pistols loaded she went aboard
And by her side hung a glittering sword
In her belt two daggers, well armed for war
Was this female smuggler
Was this female smuggler who never feared a scar.
If a "hen frigate" was any ship carrying a captain's wife, then a "she captain" is a bold woman distinguished for courageous enterprise in the history of the sea. "She captains," who infamously possessed the "bodies of women and the souls of men," thrilled and terrorized their shipmates, doing "deeds beyond the valor of women." Some were "bold and crafty pirates with broadsword in hand." Others were sirens, too, like the Valkyria Princess Alfhild, whom the mariners made rover-captain for her beauty. Like their male counterparts, these astonishing women were drawn to the ocean's beauty -- and its danger.
In her inimitable, yarn-spinning style, award-winning historian Joan Druett tells us what life was like for the women who dared to captain ships of their own, don pirates' garb, and perform heroic and hellacious deeds on the high seas. We meet Irish raider Grace "Grania" O'Malley -- sometimes called "the bald Grania" because she cut her hair short like a boy's -- who commanded three galleys and two hundred fighting men. Female pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read were wanted by the law. Armed to the teeth with cutlasses and pistols, they inspired awe and admiration as they swaggered about in fancy hats and expensive finery, killing many a man who cowered cravenly before them.
Lovelorn Susan "Put on a jolly sailor's dress/And daubed her hands with tar/To cross the raging sea/On board a man of war" to be near her William. Others disguised themselves for economic reasons. In 1835, Ann Jane Thornton signed on as a ship's steward to earn the fair wage of nine dollars per month. When it was discovered that she was a woman, the captain testified that Jane was a capital sailor, but the crew had been suspicious of her from the start, "because she would not drink her grog like a regular seaman."
In 1838, twenty-two-year-old Grace Darling led the charge to rescue nine castaways from the wreck of the Forfarshire (the Titanic of its day). "I'll save the crew!" she cried, her courageous pledge immortalized in a torrent of books, songs, and poems. Though "she captains" had been sailing for hundreds of years by the turn of the twentieth century, Scotswoman Betsey Miller made headlines by weathering "storms of the deep when many commanders of the other sex have been driven to pieces on the rocks."
From the warrior queens of the sixth century B.C. to the women shipowners influential in opening the Northwest Passage, Druett has assembled a real-life cast of characters whose boldness and bravado will capture popular imagination. Following the arc of maritime history from the female perspective, She Captains' intrepid crew sails forth into a sea of adventure.
The incredible true story of William "Bully' Hayes, the so-called "Pirate of the Pacific" in the 19th century; the myth and the man.

The story of Bully Hayes - so-called "Pirate of the Pacific" - is known throughout the Pacific, from the US to Australia and all points in between. He became the inspiration for a variety of fictional characters, writers from Robert Louis Stevenson to James A Michener and Frank Clune have used the Hayes legend, films were made based on his life (one starring Boris Karloff, another Douglas Fairbanks), and his name adorns bars and hotels all over the Pacific.

But the truth is both less noble and more intriguing than the myth. In large part, the Hayes of legend was a product of the popular press at the time, who were determined to construct a romantic figure to feed their readers' appetites. This book simultaneously sorts the facts from the fantasy and recounts an amazing true story of a genuine rogue and adventurer, against the backdrop of the great age of sail and trade.

This is the first proper biography of this legendary figure, and the only book that sets out to properly separate the myth from the truth.

From the author: No one is even sure what this American from Cleveland, Ohio, looked like, and yet his impressive physical appearance is part of the "Bully Hayes" legend. Most of the people who met him agree that he was six feet tall, and hefty in physique, that he had a bluff and hearty manner and a soft, persuasive voice. Everyone agrees that he had a beard, but whether it was cut to a point (like Captain Morgan) or flowing down to his belt varies according to the narrator, and whether it was brown, black or gray is equally vague. What everyone does say, though, is that he loved women. Captain Bully Hayes had several wives on shore, and a harem of beautiful brown girls on board his dashing little ships. And they also say that he had a magnetic personality. Today they would call it charisma.

Hayes was accused of every possible kind of crime - seduction, rape, bigamy, blackbirding, barratry, horse-stealing, cheating at cards, and the murder of his own family - but throughout his remarkable career none of this was proved. He was notorious for sailing away from ports without paying his debts, but that kind of easy dishonesty was so common in the days of sail that a term was made up for it - "paying with the foretopsail." It was a shabby sort of crime, and one he committed often, but not one to merit the "Bully Hayes" legend. Yet, though he never fired a broadside in his life, somehow William Henry Hayes became the pirate of the Pacific. Wherever he went, headlines sprang into the papers. As hundreds of editors knew, everyone wanted to read about "the notorious Captain Hayes."

Wiki Coffin, linguist aboard the U.S. Exploring Expedition, the famous voyage meant to put America at the forefront of 19th century scientific discovery, brings many skills to his job. Whether he's translating native languages, assisting his good friend Captain George Rochester as unofficial first mate, or upholding the rule of law as deputy to the sheriff of the port of Virginia, Wiki is never far from the action aboard the seven ships that make up the expedition.

But when they encounter a wrecked sealing ship and its desperate crew on the shoals of remote, uninhabited Shark Island, Wiki has little idea just how many of his skills are about to be put to the test. As soon as they board the wreck, a dead body turns up with a dagger firmly inserted between its shoulder blades. And it's not just any dead body: the victim of the brutal murder is none other than the enigmatic captain of the doomed voyage. What's more, Wiki's colleague and nemesis Lieutenant Forsythe is suspected of the crime.

Knowing full well that Forsythe is capable of such violence, Wiki nonetheless believes him innocent and is duty-bound to prove it for the good of the expedition. Was the murder a case of mutinous sealers taking the law into their own hands? Did the secrets of several mysterious long-ago voyages finally come back to haunt a dishonest and dishonorable captain? Or is Shark Island home to something more sinister than a few lonely goats? Something isn't quite right about the crew of the wrecked ship, and Wiki will stop at nothing to find out just what it is that they're hiding, and, in the process, unmask a vicious killer.

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