A Singular Captain

Rated 4.80/5 based on 5 reviews
Mutiny, murder and mayhem on the first circumnavigation of the world. With the 500th anniversary of Ferdinand Magellan's great voyage coming up, this is a chance to see what it was really like. The dangers were not just from storm and tempest, risk of the unknown and mutinous crew but, even more insidious, the machinations of corrupt priests back home. More
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About John Regan

I have been a sailor all my life, including service in the Royal Australian Navy, which gave me background for my novel Whisky Tango Foxtrot, and am still cruising in my yacht, Jabiru. After leaving the Navy, a budding career as an economist lasted only two semesters at Sydney University when I realised the Dismal Science was mostly black magic, an opinion vindicated by the Global Financial Crisis several years later.
Reverting to my true vocation, I sailed in tankers, tugs, container ships, survey ships, semi-submersible oil rigs but the most challenging and satisfying job was skipper of a sail training ship. Herding cats is a snack compared to controlling a bunch of teenagers full of their oats aboard a sailing ship. But it was rewarding. Character development is the aim of the sail training program. We get them seasick, teach them how to pull on ropes, tie useless knots and sing sea shanties, wake them up in the middle of the night to go on watch and give them a certificate at the end saying what great kids they are. Most of them believe it, and in most cases it’s true.
I found time to do some writing; won a scholarship in creative writing at Stanford University, published a novel, Little Joe, subtitled ‘A Lusty Yarn of the Sea,’ which was a bit of a stretch on the publisher’s part. I swear there was no erotica in it. Wrote numerous articles and stories, mostly with a nautical theme and produced The Seaman’s Handbook, a textbook for marine students.
But I guess I always had my eye on Ferdinand Magellan, the greatest sailor in history and too little known in the Anglophone world. Columbus steals his thunder without good reason. I claim to be the first person to write about Magellan who sailed around the world in his track, and the first master mariner. He is more than a figure of history. He has a human face. His iron will overcame every obstacle in his way except one: the fatal flaw in his own character that brought about his downfall. A Singular Captain indeed.

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Review by: PaulS972 on June 10, 2018 :
I read several long passages of the story. I keep it on my Kindle and I continue to dip back into it as time goes by. In summary it is an amazing tale, obviously written by a man who is passionate about the adventures Magellan led around the world. There is evidence of intensive historical research as well as quite a bit of creative story telling. I don't know much about Magellan, but what I do know is accurately reflected here. What I found fascinating about this story is how much it made me think about Richard Hakluyt's story "The Voyage of Sir Francis Drake Around the Whole Globe." This tale is loaded with that feeling of mystery and true danger that young sailors had back when large parts of the planet were still un-mapped -- a feeling that is truly gone from our experience as humans today.
(review of free book)
Review by: Missttyy on Oct. 19, 2016 :
This is epic in scale . . . truly monumental in it's proportions. I was wondering about the amount of research the author must have done to have written this. It is truly a labor of love because it tells with excruciating details the voyage of Magellan. I dipped in and out of it during several plane trips, reading long stretches. I truly felt like I was there with the crew in so many scenes. A major accomplishment but it could have been edited a bit.
(review of free book)
Review by: Malcolm Torres on Oct. 9, 2016 :
An amazing and quite comprehensive sea story. I have been dipping into this tome on my iPad since I first downloaded it a couple years ago. It's very impressive that the author did all this work to research and write this book. The accounting of Magellan's expedition is meticulous and engaging. It always amazes me the grip that royalty and the church had on society through dogma and ruthless power. Equally amazing is what a huge impact nautical explorations had on shifting that power to businessmen and scientists (of which sailors have been both for centuries).
(review of free book)
Review by: Boris Seaweed on July 12, 2016 :
This historical novel is a literature monument to Ferdinand Magellan and the men of his expedition who first circumnavigated the Earth about 500 years ago and proved in reality that our planet is a globe. It is also a tribute to ‘supernumerary’ Antonio Pigafetta on whose diary the book is based and who in fact was a secretary and scientist of the expedition. The author has done a great job studying, reinterpreting and giving vitality to Pigafetta’s records, penetrating into the nuances of the World political situation, religion issues, discoveries in geography, cartography, astronomy and navigation at that time and allotting psychological features to the people closely associated with the preparation and conduct of the expedition, as well as to those, whom they met on the way or who tried to destroy it. The fact that the author, professional sailor himself, has repeated the route of the expedition under sail makes this book unique.
(review of free book)
Review by: Rod Fisher on June 27, 2015 :
This is a great read of Magellan's voyage as seen through the eyes of Pigafetta, his personal assistant. Too often men like Magellan who have made a profound impact on the history and discovery of the world are denigrated by revisionist historians who dwell on their mistakes and weaknesses. But when the world was a mystery it took rare exceptional personalities to lead others into the unknown. Magellan and Columbus had faults but they had a singular unwavering purpose and never faltered in accomplishing it. This account of Magellan's voyage doesn't judge him by our modern cultural standards but places him in the proper context of the 16th century. Well done Mr. Regan.
(review of free book)

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