Synopses & Reviews
The Year is 1500. Christopher Columbus, stripped of his title Admiral of the Ocean Seas, waits in chains in a Caribbean prison built under his orders, looking out at the colony that he founded, nurtured, and ruled for eight years. Less than a decade after discovering the New World, he has fallen into disgrace, accused by the royal court of being a liar, a secret Jew, and a foreigner who sought to steal the riches of the New World for himself. The tall, freckled explorer with the aquiline nose, whose flaming red hair long ago turned gray, passes his days in prayer and rumination, trying to ignore the waterfront gallows that are all too visible from his cell. And he plots for one great escape, one last voyage to the ends of the earth, one final chance to prove himself. What follows is one of history's most epic-and forgotten-adventures. Columbus himself would later claim that his fourth voyage was his greatest. It was without doubt his most treacherous. Of the four ships he led into the unknown, none returned. Columbus would face the worst storms a European explorer had ever encountered. He would battle to survive amid mutiny, war, and a shipwreck that left him stranded on a desert isle for almost a year. On his tail were his enemies, sent from Europe to track him down. In front of him: the unknown. Martin Dugard's thrilling account of this final voyage brings Columbus to life as never before-adventurer, businessman, father, lover, tyrant, and hero.
"'For a guy who's been dead five centuries,' says Dugard, 'Columbus was very much a physical presence as I wrote this book.' The author's Columbus who engages in swashbuckling deeds of derring-do as he explores the Caribbean and Central America in his fourth and final voyage (15021504) is a guy's guy. Spurning views of Columbus as a harbinger of genocide, Dugard (Into Africa, etc.) senses virile, visionary boldness, a man 'fuelled by focus and challenge.' Unsullied by too much modern scholarship, this book is at heart a recasting of Washington Irving and Samuel Eliot Morison updated to appeal to readers of GQ and Sports Illustrated (for which Dugard has written). His is a sexy tale: Columbus flirts with the (much romanticized) queen Isabella; nautical mapmaking is 'one of the world's sexiest new occupations.' In a text that idolizes navigation skills, there are some geographical slipups (Syria isn't near the site of the Suez Canal), and petty-minded linguists will wonder about Dugard's translations ('La Huerta,' for instance, is not 'special garden'). Historians might puzzle over the claim that Granada was the 'only vestige' of the Moorish invasion (Islam continued to be practiced widely in Spain until the early 16th century). But for those who enjoy exciting descriptions of shipwrecks, bloodshed, shark-infested waters and storms from hell, this may be beside the point. 2 maps. Agent, Eric Simonoff. (June) " Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Lasting from 1502 to 1504, this fourth and final voyage becomes, in Dugard's rendition, a vivid tally of adventure....With apt details, Dugard re-creates the terrors and discomforts of the expedition..." Booklist
"This voyage was so extraordinary and harrowing, and the telling of it so compelling, that it is bound to capture the imagination of readers. Strongly recommended..." Library Journal
"Plenty to digest for the history-minded reader who enjoys a bracing story of courage and adventure on the uncharted high seas." Kirkus Reviews
"A book that reads like a David Lean movie. Martin Dugard combines adventure and history in a raw, powerful narrative that is impossible to put down. We see Columbus brilliant, determined, flawed, and ultimately tragic afresh through his eyes, and experience the horrors and triumphs of the Admiral's final voyage in vivid fashion. This book will forever alter your view of Columbus."
Mark Burnett, executive producer of Survivor
The epic, never-before-told story of Columbus's final, and perhaps greatest, journey to the New World.
The final voyage of Christopher Columbus was by far his most dangerous, unexpected, exhilarating, and consequential. It was, as Pulitzer Prize-winner Samuel Eliot Morison put it, "a story of adventure which imagination could hardly invent; a struggle between man and the elements, in which the most splendid manifestations of devotion, loyalty and courage are mingled with the vilest human passions."
Shockingly, no book has been written about this fateful final journey until now. Martin Dugard finally brings to light this saga of shipwreck, mutiny, discovery, and political treachery telling the story of how Columbus's quest to find a passage to the Orient drove him onward in the face of peril.
Here we meet Christopher Columbus, the determined, and sometimes desperate, elder adventurer a far cry from the shrouded hero/villain of legend. The Last Voyage of Columbus offers up the long-lost last chapter in the life of a man whose story we only thought we knew.
Columbus' fourth voyage is a saga of shipwreck, mutiny, discovery, and political treachery, yet his quest to find a passage to the Orient drove him onward in the face of peril.
About the Author
Martin Dugard's previous books and magazine work have established him as a powerful writer of adventure narratives. He has written for Esquire, Outside, Sports Illustrated, and GQ. Dugard lives in Orange County, California, with his wife and three sons