Auckland Island is a godforsaken place in the middle of the Southern Ocean, 285 miles south of New Zealand. With
year-round freezing rain and howling winds, it is one of the most forbidding places in the world. To be shipwrecked
there means almost certain death.
In 1864 Captain Thomas Musgrave and his crew of four aboard the schooner Grafton wreck on the southern end of the
island. Utterly alone in a dense coastal forest, plagued by stinging blowflies and relentless rain, Captain
Musgrave—rather than succumb to this dismal fate—inspires his men to take action. With barely more than their bare
hands, they build a cabin and, remarkably, a forge, where they manufacture their tools. Under Musgrave's leadership,
they band together and remain civilized through even the darkest and most terrifying days.
Incredibly, at the same time on the opposite end of the island—twenty miles of impassable cliffs and chasms away—the
Invercauld wrecks during a horrible storm. Nineteen men stagger ashore. Unlike Captain Musgrave, the captain of the
Invercauld falls apart given the same dismal circumstances. His men fight and split up; some die of starvation, others
turn to cannibalism. Only three survive. Musgrave and all of his men not only endure for nearly two years, they also
plan their own astonishing escape, setting off on one of the most courageous sea voyages in history.
Using the survivors' journals and historical records, award-winning maritime historian Joan Druett brings this
extraordinary untold story to life, a story about leadership and the fine line between order and chaos.