John Boyne - isn't he the one that wrote....? Yes Boyne is the author of the hugely successful historical fiction bestseller, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.
Boyne turns his talents into a re-telling of the ill fated 1789 voyage of The Bounty to harvest breadfruit on what is now known as the island of Tahiti. The breadfruit was destined to feed slaves in Jamaica. After a long and difficult voyage, many men questioned William Bligh's leadership and a mutiny occurred. Bligh and 19 loyal men were turned out into a small launch and left to live or die. Bligh managed to guide them to land over the course of 48 days. Most of them did survive. Many books have been written, recounting this event.
Boyne's novel, although faithful to historical fact, is character driven. It is told from the viewpoint of 14 yr. old John Jacob Turnstile. Turnstile is given a choice - serve his gaol sentence for thievery or sign on as the captain's servant boy on the Bounty. The ship is his choice. Having never sailed before, we are treated to seeing the vessel, the traditions, the crew, Bligh himself and the fate of The Bounty's historic voyage through the curious eyes of "Turnip", as he is known to the crew. Turnstile is a wonderfully engaging character. His dialogue is witty, sharp and humorous. He is wise beyond his years in certain ways and yet naive in other matters. His documentation of the ship's crew, their personalities and what may have led to the mutiny are a fresh look at a known story. Knowing the history of the Bounty did in no way detract from the reading of Boyne's book. Boyne is a consummate story teller and The Mutiny on the Bounty is a heck of a tale. Highly recommended.
You can read the first chapter here.