In January 1864, five seamen from the wrecked schooner Grafton are stranded on an isolated speck of land some 300 miles south of New Zealand. Battling ferocious winds, relentless freezing rain and an impenetrable coastal forest, their chances of survival are slim. But under the leadership of Captain Thomas Musgrave, they miraculously cling to life for nearly two years before building a vessel and setting off on one of the most courageous sea voyages ever.
Meanwhile, in May 1864, on the same island but twenty miles of impassable cliffs and chasms away, another ship is wrecked and nineteen men struggle ashore. This crew, however, succumbs to utter anarchy and only three remain to be rescued a year later.
Using the survivors' journals, Joan Druett tells a gripping tale about leadership, endurance, and the fine line between order and chaos.
'Those yearning for a classic man vs. nature, triumph-over-terrible-odds story, get ready to set sail.' Paste, US
'Swashbuckling maritime history.' Kirkus Reviews
'One of the finest survival stories I've read.' Seattle Times