In the Wake of Madness: The Murderous Voyage of the Whaleship Sharon

By Joan Druett

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"On May 25, 1841, the whaleship Sharon of Fairhaven, Massachusetts, set out for the whaling grounds of the northwestern Pacific under the command of Captain Howes Norris. A year later, while most of the crew was out on the hunt, Norris remained at the helm with four crew members-three of them natives from the Pacific Islands. When the men in the whaleboats spied the Sharon's flag flying at half-mast-a signal of distress-they rowed toward the ship to discover their Captain had been hacked to pieces. His murderers, the Pacific Islanders, were covered in blood and brandishing weapons. Unless the crew could retake the Sharon, their prospects of survival were slim. The nearest land was seven hundred miles away.

"Through recently discovered journals of the ship's cooper and the third officer, award-winning maritime historian Joan Druett unearths the mystery of the ill-fated whaleship.... Dramatically and meticulously recreating the events of the Sharon, Druett pieces together a voyage filled with savagery and madness under the command of one of the most ruthless captains to sail the high seas. In the Wake of Madness brings to life a riveting story and exposes the secrets that followed the men of the Sharon to their graves."

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