THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES NO. 1 BESTSELLER *LONGLISTED FOR THE 2023 BALLIE GIFFORD PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION* *SELECTED AS ONE OF BARACK OBAMA'S FAVOURITE BOOKS OF 2023*
'The beauty of The Wager unfurls like a great sail... one of the finest nonfiction books I’ve ever read' Guardian
‘The greatest sea story ever told’ Spectator
‘A cracking yarn… Grann’s taste for desperate predicaments finds its fullest expression here’ Observer
From the international bestselling author of KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON and THE LOST CITY OF Z, a mesmerising story of shipwreck, mutiny and murder, culminating in a court martial that reveals a shocking truth.
On 28th January 1742, a ramshackle vessel of patched-together wood and cloth washed up on the coast of Brazil. Inside were thirty emaciated men, barely alive, and they had an extraordinary tale to tell. They were survivors of His Majesty’s ship the Wager, a British vessel that had left England in 1740 on a secret mission during an imperial war with Spain. While chasing a Spanish treasure-filled galleon, the Wager was wrecked on a desolate island off the coast of Patagonia. The crew, marooned for months and facing starvation, built the flimsy craft and sailed for more than a hundred days, traversing 2,500 miles of storm-wracked seas. They were greeted as heroes.
Then, six months later, another, even more decrepit, craft landed on the coast of Chile. This boat contained just three castaways and they had a very different story to tell. The thirty sailors who landed in Brazil were not heroes – they were mutineers. The first group responded with counter-charges of their own, of a tyrannical and murderous captain and his henchmen. While stranded on the island the crew had fallen into anarchy, with warring factions fighting for dominion over the barren wilderness. As accusations of treachery and murder flew, the Admiralty convened a court martial to determine who was telling the truth. The stakes were life-and-death—for whomever the court found guilty could hang.
David Grann is the author of the Number One international bestsellers KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON, THE LOST CITY OF Z and THE WAGER. KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON was shortlisted for the CWA ALCS Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction and won an Edgar Allan Poe Award. He is also the author of THE WHITE DARKNESS and the collection THE DEVIL AND SHERLOCK HOLMES. Grann’s storytelling has garnered several honours including a George Polk Award. He lives with his wife and children in Westchester County, New York.
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