THE LAST VOYAGE: Captain Cook's Lost Diary by Hammond Innes

THE LAST VOYAGE: Captain Cook's Lost Diary

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Purporting to be a diary found in the cellars of the old St. James Club, this is Irmes' least active adventure--and the driest novel in imitation of a historical personage's prose style since Thornton Wilder's The Ides of March. Captain Cook is preparing for his third voyage of discovery, hoping to locate the Pacific Northwest Passage to the Atlantic by which the Crown can trade more easily with China and the Indies. This will be his way of atoning for the discovery that there is no great, warm southern continent. Very upset by the accounts of his earlier voyages made public by a hack who embroidered Cook's journals, the Captain uses this current diary to record his unofficial impressions of the third voyage; included are musings on what he thinks of his very young master William Bligh (yes, Bligh of the Bounty mutiny in later years) and what he thinks of himself--his hopes, irritableness, and closed mouth (""But at least I am not of a melancholy disposition though sometimes accused of it, those who do not like me mistaking silence and an inclination to careful thought for that condition of mind""). Avoiding scurvy through constant hygiene and vegetable-gathering at every stop, the crew goes down the Atlantic, round the Cape of Good Hope to New Zealand, up the Pacific to America and the Arctic in fruitless search of the passage. Then comes Cook's fatal voyage to Hawaii and the first Pacific natives he could not dominate. A workmanlike, unexciting mock-up--but Cook's bicentenary year (1979) should give it a slight boost.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1978
Publisher: Knopf