Email this review


This is the fourth book from yet another of the nine contestants in 1968's nonstop smallboat round-the-world solo race, and it's quite possibly the best. Backed by London's Daily Express, Commander King, who took more than three years to complete his circumnavigation of the globe, did not win but he attained his life's great dream. The book's title refers both to his adventures as a submarine commander during World War II (told in flashbacks) and his more recent voyage to inner awareness during his four attempts to circle the earth. His boat Galway Blazer II was fashioned along the lines of Chinese junks which are either tubular or roundish and accustomed to riding out monsoons in the South China Seas. His first attempt out found him in one of the greatest Antarctic sea storms in 50 years, and it makes for some god-awful moments when he capsizes and suddenly, there is your narrator standing on his head with the green sea rushing into the cabin. His second one a year later ended when his hands lost their calluses and it became impossible for him to navigate. The third held more disasters, including being rammed by a killer whale. At the lowest point of his fourth trial, he was visited by a sailor ghost who helped him out (the ghost is mentioned by other members of the great race). Any more attempts and King would be rivaling The Flying Dutchman.

Pub Date: June 30th, 1975
Publisher: Putnam