Island of the Lost: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World

Algonquin Books
14
Free sample

Auckland Island is a godforsaken place in the middle of the Southern Ocean, 285 miles south of New Zealand. With year-round freezing rain and howling winds, it is one of the most forbidding places in the world. To be shipwrecked there means almost certain death.

In 1864 Captain Thomas Musgrave and his crew of four aboard the schooner Grafton wreck on the southern end of the island. Utterly alone in a dense coastal forest, plagued by stinging blowflies and relentless rain, Captain Musgrave—rather than succumb to this dismal fate—inspires his men to take action. With barely more than their bare hands, they build a cabin and, remarkably, a forge, where they manufacture their tools. Under Musgrave's leadership, they band together and remain civilized through even the darkest and most terrifying days.

Incredibly, at the same time on the opposite end of the island—twenty miles of impassable cliffs and chasms away—the Invercauld wrecks during a horrible storm. Nineteen men stagger ashore. Unlike Captain Musgrave, the captain of the Invercauld falls apart given the same dismal circumstances. His men fight and split up; some die of starvation, others turn to cannibalism. Only three survive. Musgrave and all of his men not only endure for nearly two years, they also plan their own astonishing escape, setting off on one of the most courageous sea voyages in history.

Using the survivors' journals and historical records, award-winning maritime historian Joan Druett brings this extraordinary untold story to life, a story about leadership and the fine line between order and chaos.
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About the author

Joan Druett is a maritime historian and the award-winning author of several books, including Petticoat WhalersShe Was a Sister SailorHen FrigatesTupaia, and The Discovery of Tahiti. Her interest in maritime history began in 1984, when she discovered the grave of a young American whaling wife while exploring the tropical island of Rarotonga; she subsequently received a Fulbright fellowship to study whaling wives in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and California. Her ground-breaking work in the field of seafaring women was also recognized with a L. Byrne Waterman Award. She is married to Ron Druett, a maritime artist.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Algonquin Books
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Published on
Jun 8, 2007
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Pages
284
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ISBN
9781565126510
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Oceania
History / Social History
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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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.
 
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“Shocking and very satisfying.” —Richard Zack, author of The Pirate Hunter
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Captured, robbed and enslaved, the sailors were dragged and driven through the desert by their new owners, who neither spoke their language nor cared for their plight. Reduced to drinking urine, flayed by the sun, crippled by walking miles across burning stones and sand and losing over half of their body weights, the sailors struggled to hold onto both their humanity and their sanity. To reach safety, they would have to overcome not only the desert but also the greed and anger of those who would keep them in captivity.
From the cold waters of the Atlantic to the searing Saharan sands, from the heart of the desert to the heart of man, Skeletons on the Zahara is a spectacular odyssey through the extremes and a gripping account of courage, brotherhood, and survival.
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