The 20 Best Books of Spring 2023

One of our finest nonfiction storytellers returns with a swashbuckling epic about shipwreck, scandal, mutiny, and murder. In 1741, when a British naval vessel was shipwrecked on a desolate island off the coast of Patagonia, its crew divided into factions and descended into violence. After five months marooned, some seamen escaped in makeshift boats, abandoning their captain and his few remaining loyalists. Survivors of this perilous journey back to England were hailed as heroes—until the captain made a miraculous return, accusing his officers of mutiny. What followed was a court martial and a vicious war of words, with each side spinning a narrative to avoid death by hanging. Masterfully structured from a wealth of firsthand accounts, like logbooks, correspondence, and court martial testimony, The Wager is a thrilling voyage about tall tales, at sea and on land.

Read an interview with the author here at Esquire.

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