A cultured young Englishwoman, Mary is a complete vice at sea. She is entirely unprepared for life on the convoy that sets sail from Portsmouth in 1806: for the unfamiliar rituals, the great emptiness of the ocean, the terrifying storms, the bedazzling natural wonders. Most troubling of all is the bizarre quarrel between her father and the captain of the convoy, Joseph Short, a man whose sensitivities are almost a match for William Bligh's and whose temper brings the voyagers to the brink of catastrophe. Mary's witty journal invites us beyond the quarterdeck rivalries into the private world of the Blighs: their family and friends, and the tragedies and failings of a living legend embarking on his last great command.
Peter Cochrane is an award-winning historian. His previous books include Colonial Ambition: Foundations of Australian Democracy, and Australians at War.