On January 28, 1742, a ramshackle vessel washed up on the coast of Brazil. Inside were 30 emaciated men, barely alive, and they had an extraordinary tale to tell. They were survivors of HMS the Wager, which had wrecked off the coast of Patagonia.
The men, after being marooned for months and facing starvation, built the flimsy craft and sailed for more than 100 days, traversing nearly 3,000 miles of storm-wracked seas. They were greeted as heroes.
But six months later, another, even more decrepit craft landed on the coast of Chile. This boat contained just three castaways, and they told a very different story. The 30 sailors who landed in Brazil were not heroes at all.
As accusations of treachery and murder flew, a court martial was convened to determine who was telling the truth. The stakes were life-and-death, for whomever the court found guilty could hang.
“A tour de force of narrative nonfiction,” says the Wall Street Journal.
“A brisk, absorbing history and a no-brainer for fans of the author’s suspenseful historical thrillers,” says Kirkus.