A fair picture of Henry Hudson comes through this skimpy, journalistic biography. Vail reveals no passion for research, his style is cinematic, and his historical figures mostly cardboard. Nonetheless, something of Hudson does come through. The late 16th century adventurer-discoverer had little regard for his family and was rather blind to the psychology of his mariners. He was consumed by a desire to locate the fabled northwest sea route to the Pacific. He cared nothing for personal gain, and at the height of his fame he contracted out to sail on the same monetary terms as ever. Apparently, he sought immortality. This monomania was his undoing. He deceived his employers, the Dutch East India Company, as to his purposes during the voyage when he discovered the Hudson River. They wanted the fruits of commerce, he wanted knowledge and glory. On his final voyage, for King James, he wanted to prove that the Hudson was the passage westward. But the ill-fated voyage dissolved into mutiny. Hudson, his son, and a few others were put to sea in a gig by the mutineers and never head from again. Ironically, following his death, his destitute wife went into the British East India Company and emerged a wealthy woman.