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Book cover for Boon Island: Including Contemporary Accounts of the Wreck of the Nottingham Galley

Boon Island: Including Contemporary Accounts of the Wreck of the Nottingham Galley

Author: Kenneth Roberts

Rating: ★★★★★

Genre: Historical Fiction

Themes: Morality, Hope, Cannibalism

Format: Paperback

Finished: September 21, 2017

Purchase link

I bought this book at Door Yard Books in Rockland, ME. It was our third day in Maine and I needed a vacation book for the evening downtime we’d have while up in Acadia National Park. I love reading books set locally while I’m on vacation, so I headed straight for the Maine shelves at Door Yard. Boon Island caught my eye because it takes place on an island off the coast, and we were going to spend some time on a few islands. Perfect.

Kenneth Roberts wrote historical fiction. Boon Island, a fictional account of the December 1710 shipwreck of the Nottingham Galley, certainly fits into that genre, but it is unique in two ways:

  1. There are only a few contemporary accounts of the wreck of the Nottingham Galley, so Roberts drew more on his imagination than in his other works. The copy I picked up contains those accounts along with the story.
  2. This is the only book in which Roberts uses symbolism and allegories to convey his themes ideas.

This was a great vacation read that deals with good, evil, forgiveness, redemption, and hope. Roberts summed it up well himself, a few weeks before his death in 1957:

Boon Island is us fighting the world. We ain’t got a Chinaman’s chance–but with guts we can somehow lick the world.”