This historical novel by New Zealander Graeme Lay is a nobel attempt to get into the minds of those responsible for the Mutiny on the HMAV Bounty in April 1789.
The story of how Fletcher led a mutiny that saw Captain William Bligh relieved of his duties is well known. This historical fiction gets into the mind of Fletcher and paints a picture of how a young navy man who is driven to commit this extreme act with along with his much suffering crew members. The novel paints Captain Bligh as a cruel, psychologically unstable and malicious captain. After sustained bullying and unwanted sexual advances, Fletcher is put in the situation where he leads the mutiny.
The mutineers go into hiding on Pitcairn Island. While they hope to build a utopian tropical paradise in the South Pacific, this dream soon turns to ashes. Racial conflict, lust, the harsh environment and other disasters turn life on Pitcairn into a living hell.
This novel is very readable and engaging. It keeps to the historical facts as much as possible, though a fair degree of supposition is evident in the writing. Lay is certainly not the first to dramatise the events of 1789 on the Bounty. This 21st century novel pay greater attention to the Tahitian and other islanders involved in the event than earlier dramatisations.
For those interested in the mutiny, it is well worth a read.
I did like the style of writing that intertwined the fact with …A very interesting perspective. After reading several books focused on Bligh and his epic escape, this was quite a different view on what happened. I did like the style of writing that intertwined the fact with the fiction – it was quite appropriate. Definitely a book that you pick up and consume quite quickly.
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