About Town

Book Review: The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny & Murder

By Lia Lent with WordsWorth Books

For avid readers, one of the most pressing decisions is what to read next. A title we recommend for the top of your list is The Wager by David Grann. You may recognize Grann as the author of Killers of the Flower Moon, also a fantastic read with an adaptation for the screen in theatres now.  A page-turning story of shipwreck, survival, and savagery, The Wager is a historical thriller about a 1700s sea voyage and shipwreck.

One of five English ships with a secret mission – to intercept a Spanish boat loaded with silver coins and take its treasure, the Wager was separated from the fleet during a hurricane around Cape Horn and was assumed to have sunk with no survivors. Two years later, thirty men, barely alive, arrived in Brazil with an extraordinary and shocking tale… a story of the Wager’s shipwreck and of survival on a deserted island off the coast of Chile. Six months later, three additional men, emaciated and with a different story appeared in Chile. These survivors told a very different story than the original 30 survivors, a story of treachery and insurrection. They claimed that these thirty sailors were no heroes; they were mutineers.  Back in England, a life-and death stakes court martial was convened to determine who was telling the truth.  Who were the heroes? Who were the scoundrels? And who should hang?

This tale of violence, disease and deceit is also full of human perseverance, ingenuity and teamwork. The Wager is written in a narrative style that puts the reader in the middle of the action. Readers of nonfiction, history, thrillers and historical fiction will all enjoy this outstanding book. What to read next? We suggest – The Wager.



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