From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Killers of the Flower Moon,a page-turning story of shipwrecksurvivaland savageryculminating in a court martial that reveals a shocking truth. With the twists and turns of a thriller Grann unearths the deeper meaning of the events on the Wagershowing that it was not only the captain and crew who ended up on trialbut the very idea of empire. On January 281742a ramshackle vessel of patched-together wood and cloth washed up on the coast of Brazil. Inside were thirty emaciated menbarely aliveand they had an extraordinary tale to tell. They were survivors of His MajestyΓÇÖs Ship the Wagera British vessel that had left England in 1740 on a secret mission during an imperial war with Spain. While the Wager had been chasing a Spanish treasure-filled galleon known as ΓÇ£the prize of all the oceansΓÇ¥ it had wrecked on a desolate island off the coast of Patagonia. The menafter being marooned for months and facing starvationbuilt the flimsy craft and sailed for more than a hundred daystraversing 2500 miles of storm-wracked seas. They were greeted as heroes. But then … six months lateranothereven more decrepit craft landed on the coast of Chile. This boat contained just three castawaysand they told a very different story. The thirty sailors who landed in Brazil were not heroes ΓÇô they were mutineers. The first group responded with countercharges of their ownof a tyrannical and murderous senior officer and his henchmen. It became clear that while stranded on the island the crew had fallen into anarchywith warring factions fighting for dominion over the barren wilderness. As accusations of treachery and murder flewthe Admiralty convened a court martial to determine who was telling the truth. The stakes were life-and-deathΓÇöfor whomever the court found guilty could hang. The Wager is a grand tale of human behavior at the extremes told by one of our greatest nonfiction writers. GrannΓÇÖs recreation of the hidden world on a British warship rivals the work of Patrick OΓÇÖBrianhis portrayal of the castawaysΓÇÖ desperate straits stands up to the classics of survival writing such as The Enduranceand his account of the court martial has the savvy of a Scott Turow thriller. As always with GrannΓÇÖs workthe incredible twists of the narrative hold the reader spellbound.
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