Synopses & Reviews
A true tale of high adventure in the South Seas.
The tiny island of Run is an insignificant speck in the Indonesian archipelago. Just two miles long and half a mile wide, it is remote, tranquil, and, these days, largely ignored.
Yet 370 years ago, Run's harvest of nutmeg (a pound of which yielded a 3,200 percent profit by the time it arrived in England) turned it into the most lucrative of the Spice Islands, precipitating a battle between the all-powerful Dutch East India Company and the British Crown. The outcome of the fighting was one of the most spectacular deals in history: Britain ceded Run to Holland but in return was given Manhattan. This led not only to the birth of New York but also to the beginning of the British Empire.
Such a deal was due to the persistence of one man. Nathaniel Courthope and his small band of adventurers were sent to Run in October 1616, and for four years held off the massive Dutch navy. Nathaniel's Nutmeg centers on the remarkable showdown between Courthope and the Dutch Governor General Jan Coen, and the brutal fate of the mariners racing to Run-and the other corners of the globe-to reap the huge profits of the spice trade. Written with the flair of a historical sea novel but based on rigorous research, Nathaniel's Nutmeg is a brilliant adventure story by a writer who has been hailed as the "new Bruce Chatwin" (Mail on Sunday).
"An exciting account of the dangerous voyages, bizarre transactions and desperate battles of the Spice Wars." The Washington Post
"Fascinating...an epic tale, told superbly...There is plenty of gore, chance, and piracy to the story." The Wall Street Journal
"This is a high adventure pirates and cannons and pieces of eight....A work of prodigious research, and a fascinatingly seminal tidbit of New York history." New York Newsday
"[A] rousing historical romp. Milton leaves one both yearning for a time when the world seemed full of infinite adventure and appalled by what greed did to such a paradise." The New York Times Book Review
This "rousing, historical romp" ("The New York Times Book Review") introducesreaders to Run, a tiny island in the middle of an Indonesian archipelago--andthe fierce spice wars that surrounded it. NPR sponsorship.
The tiny island of Run is an insignificant speck in the middle of the Indonesian archipelago--remote, tranquil, and now largely ignored. At the beginning of the seventeenth century, however, Run's harvest of nutmeg turned it into the most lucrative of the Spice Islands, precipitating a fierce and bloody battle between the all-powerful Dutch East India Company and a small band of ragtag British adventurers led by the intrepid Nathaniel Courthope. The outcome of the fighting was one of the most spectacular deals in history: Britain ceded Run to Holland, but in return was given another small island, Manhattan. A brilliant adventure story of unthinkable hardship and savagery, the navigation of uncharted waters, and the exploitation of new worlds, Nathaniel's Nutmeg is a remarkable chapter in the history of the colonial powers.
About the Author
Giles Milton is the author of The Riddle and the Knight, a critically acclaimed history of the explorer Sir John Mandeville.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations and Maps
1. Arctic Whirlwinds
2. Wonderfully Unwholesome Climes
3. Music and Dancing Damsels
4. In the Paws of the Lion
5. "Admiral, We Are Betrayed!"
6. A Rebel at Sea
7. The Cannibals' Country
8. The Banner of Saint George
9. Conflict Between Gentlemen
10. Raising the Blood-Flag
11. Trial by Fire and Water
12. Striking a Deal