Inspired by Melville’s own experiences on the high seas, this classic adventure tale pits two sailors against an island of cannibals
After six months of relentless battering by the turbulent South Pacific, the whaling ship known as the Dolly is beginning to resemble a swollen and cracking prison. For Tommo, it’s been six months of little to eat but stale biscuits, six months of steady abuse and derision from his shipmates, six months with nothing to distract him from the daily drudgery of life aboard the boat. All that time and not even a hint of land—it’s enough to drive anyone mad. Thousands of miles from home, the Dolly finally chances upon a remote island, and Tommo and fellow sailor Toby resolve to strike out on their own. Intrigue and excitement ensue when they discover their new haven to be inhabited by a tribe of cannibals!
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Herman Melville (1819–1891) was born in New York City and worked as a bank clerk and a schoolteacher before joining the crew of the whaler Acushnet on its voyage from Massachusetts to the South Pacific. Melville jumped ship in the Marquesas Islands, an experience memorably recounted in his bestselling autobiographical novel Typee. Much of his later work, including Moby-Dick and the classic novellas Bartleby, the Scrivener and Benito Cereno, was not well received during his lifetime, but Melville is now considered one of the nineteenth century’s most innovative and important authors.