In the year 1824 the American whaler Globe out of Nantucket was struck by the bloodiest mutiny in U.S. maritime history. With an abundance of first-hand materials, Hoyt reconstructs the gory incidents with considerable immediacy and verified dialogue. At center stage stands boatsteerer-harpooner Samuel Comstock, a young man as mad as any modern adolescent psychotic berserk with a gun and knife. Some essential explanation for Comstock's insanity is missing--paradoxically this only deepens the reader's curiosity about him. Well-educated for a sailor, he was raised as a Quaker but couldn't take the life seriously; as a boy he laughed during Meeting, joined a gang of young roughs, was a stoic who could endure great pain, became incorrigible and hated any curtailment of his freedom. He ran away to sea at thirteen, shipped out on a whaler a year later, and by twenty-two had risen to the very high rank of harpooner, a seaman who only worked when a whale was being chased, killed and stripped. At other times harpooners were lounge lizards. His dream was to retire alone to an island paradise with no white men. Toward this end he engineered the mutiny and, in full-blooming paranoia, sailed to the desert isle of his fancy. But his fellow mutineers found him too self-interested and shot him--subsequently most of them were murdered by natives. The story is made to order for Hoyt--bloody, and raw-skinned on all surfaces.