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The true story of a pioneering sailor who travelled the world at the end of the 18th century. In his many voyages, the Scottish-born John Nichol circumnavigated the globe, visiting every inhabited continent. He participated in many of the greatest events of exploration and adventure. He battled pirates, traded with Native Americans and fought for the British Navy in the American and French Revolutions; he also travelled on the first female convict ship to Australia, was entertained in Hawaii by the king's court, days after the murder of Captain James Cook, and witnessed the horrors of the slave system in Jamaica.
Canongate Books Ltd
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UK Kirkus review
A driving wish for romance and adventure, which seemed unlikely to be satisfied at home in 18th century Edinburgh, persuaded young John Nicol to go to sea. There he found all the adventure he could have desired. He crewed on whalers, traded to the South Pacific and China at a time when their ancient cultures were still little affected by Europeans. The ships in which he served fought privateers and under Nelson's command were engaged in the battle of Aboukir Bay, the victory that ended Napoleon's dream of an Egyptian Empire. Twice he circumnavigated the globe. As a seaman on a voyage to Botany Bay, he fell deeply in love with a female convict, an affair which affected him profoundly for the rest of his life. The story, much of which can be verified from other sources, was first published in 1822. It was written from Nicol's dictation as a means of obtaining for the old sailor the pension to which he was entitled. It is an account told with wonderfully eloquent simplicity and all the more vivid and convincing for being devoid of literary flourishes. It convinced the Lords of the Admiralty; Nicol got his pension and we have as a result an unforgettable portrait of a remarkable man and his times. (Kirkus UK)
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