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Synopsis

In 1787, the Royal Navy ship H.M.S. Bounty, captained by William Bligh, set sail for Tahiti in search of breadfruit plants. Soon after leaving Tahiti, Masters Mate Fletcher Christian led a successful revolt, setting Bligh and eighteen of his men adrift. In his journal, fellow mutineer James Morrison recounts the Bountys voyage from his perspective as the boatswains mate, placing considerable blame for the mutiny on Blighs irascible personality and style of command. This event, however, simply introduces Morrisons remarkable journey through the South Seas.

A born storyteller, Morrison presents compelling tales after the Bounty mutiny, beginning with ringleader Fletcher Christians two bloody, ill-fated attempts to establish a refuge on the island of Tubuai. Morrison then recounts his eighteen month sojourn on Tahiti, where he constructed a seaworthy schooner and closely observed every aspect of the island and its way of life. He also includes the subsequent arrival of H.M.S. Pandora, which was charged with bringing the mutineers back to England for trial, and his imprisonment in the horrific Pandoras Box. Morrison once again faces peril when the Pandora sinks on Australias Great Barrier Reef, where thirty-one of the crew and four prisoners perished.

Although Morrison did not actively participate in the Bounty insurrection, he had remained with Fletcher Christians party, which was enough evidence for condemnation once back in England. While imprisoned, Morrison began composing his journal. He was releasedKing George III granted a pardonand soon after wrote the second half of the journal, which he filled with detailed descriptions of Tahitian life, culture, and natural history. Morrisons journal is an invaluable resource for naval historians and an enthralling tale for the general reader.

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