A new writing team--actor Gene Hackman and one of America's leading authorities on shipwrecks and diving, Daniel Lenihan--have combined their remarkable talent and experience to create a rousing adventure saga of men and the sea, full of authentic historical and nautical detail, including fascinating descriptions of underwater diving and salvage operations of the early nineteenth century.
In 1805 seventeen-year-old Jack O'Reilly sets sail with his parents from Salem, Massachusetts, aboard the Perdido Star. Jack is full of high hopes at the prospect of a new life in his mother's homeland of Cuba, but shortly after the family arrives, tragedy strikes, and in a desperate escape, Jack rejoins the departing Star as a member of the crew.
For the next three years Jack encounters storms, shipwreck, hostile and friendly natives, and enemy vessels as he travels around Cape Horn to the South Sea islands, the Philippines, around the Cape of Good Hope, and finally back to Cuba. He becomes the leader of a renegade group who call themselves the Right Honourable Brotherhood of the Shipwrecked Men of the Star. But throughout his adventures, his obsession to return to Cuba for revenge dominates his life, and his daring actions become the talk of the men of other vessels, who come to know him as "Black Jack" O'Reilly. Not until Jack fears the loss of his two closest mates and attempts a desperate rescue does he finally free himself from the chains of his fury and vindictiveness.
Jack O'Reilly is a striking portrait in a long line of memorable protagonists who come of age at sea; and he is surrounded by equally memorable supporting characters: Paul Le Maire, the aristocratic intellectual whose own misadventures bring him onto the Perdido Star and into Jack's friendship; Quince, the first mate, Jack's mentor and defender; Quen-Li, the mysterious Chinese cook whose skills extend beyond the galley; Hansumbob, the ship's poet, whose simplicity belies