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Charles Bernard Nordhoff and James Norman Hall began in 1929 their work on an historical novel dealing with the mutiny on board H.M.S. Bounty. Upon the advice of their publishers, English assistants researched the archives of the British Museum, rare-book shops, collections of prints and engravings in London, Bligh’s correspondence and the Admiralty records of the court-martial proceedings. Copies of the Bounty’s deck and rigging plans were also secured, with special reference to the alterations made for her breadfruit tree voyage. All this was forwarded to the home of Nordhoff and Hall in Tahiti.
The Bounty history divides itself naturally into three parts, and it was the plan of the authors, from the beginning, to deal with each of these in a separate volume. Mutiny on the Bounty, which opens the story, is concerned with the voyage of the vessel from England, the long Tahiti sojourn while the cargo of young breadfruit trees was being assembled, the departure of the homeward-bound ship, the mutiny, and the fate of those of her company who later returned to Tahiti, where they were eventually seized by H.M.S. Pandora and taken back to England for trial. The authors chose as the narrator of this story a fictitious character, Roger Byam, who tells it as an old man, after his retirement from the Navy. Byam had his actual counterpart in the person of Midshipman Peter Heywood on H.M.S. Bounty.
The second book of the trilogy, Men Against the Sea, the story of Captain Bligh and his fellow castaways, is also available here at Faded Page, and Pitcairn's Island, the story of Fletcher Christian and the mutineers, will be coming soon. If you would like to help make more titles available to the public, come join us in proofing additional titles such as The Hurricane and Lost Island, also from Nordhoff and Hall currently in the proofing rounds.
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