A moonlit night, a volcanic eruption, and the dalliance of a man desertion-bent, precipitated a series of adventures that have teased curiosity ever since. The psychological circumstances surrounding the celebrated mutiny and its aftermath are recapitulated here with all the intensity of a first-class thriller. The trail is not cold, though nearly 200 years have passed; the characters are fresh, despite books, movies, and sundry adaptations. The true tale of the redoubtable William Bligh and the men of his first command has waited until now for a just reckoning in literature: the journals that were suppressed, the Admiralty reports that lay in drawers for decades, the letters of eyewitnesses to friends and family, have all contributed to this story of motivation and coincidence, action and reaction. The basic personality attributes of all the principals -- but most especially Bligh -- are revealed by McKee's thoughtful, if slightly clinical, interpretation. His remarks on the connection between the Bounty affair and Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner credibly solve a second literary puzzle, as well. New insights in store for lovers of an old standby.