News & Reviews

The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder

03 May 2023 News & Reviews

My first day back in NY, I saw The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder on the front table at Shakespeare & Co, an independent New York bookstore, and immediately bought it.

The author, David Grann, is a master of narrative nonfiction and I’ll read anything he writes — most recently, Killers of the Flower Moon, and The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon.

The ‘wager’ wasn’t a bet. It was a 1700’s British man-of-war, sent to seize the treasures on a Spanish galleon off the coast of Chile. It is a riveting, astonishing tale. Man against Nature — 100-foot waves; punishing seas; hurricanes; hidden icebergs around Cape Horn; climbing the mast in gale-force winds. It’s hard to imagine a modern cruise ship navigating this hell; the Wager was a 130-foot wooden hulk. Typhus and scurvy took their toll. When the ship crashed on rocks, the survivors became castaways on a desolate island. Man against Man. Stalked by starvation, the men plotted to survive. The story as told by captain and crew in journals, logs and courts-martial inspired Lord Byron (whose grand father was among the crew of rogues, misfits, lost souls and the press-ganged), philsophers Rousseau and Voltaire, writers Melville and O’Brien.

The Wager has received both rave reviews and has been at the top of the New York Times best seller list.

To order your copy click here.

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