Rush to your local newsagents!
Knock people out of the way!
For God’s sake, think of your children!
After I wrote my book about Sir John Franklin (Deadly Winter) I was keen to follow it up with one about Flinders, who gave Franklin his first taste of exploration – but two other people beat me to it. He took Franklin as young midshipman on his voyage to become the first man to circumnavigate and chart Australia. This proved once and for all that it was a continent; and Flinders, incidentally, is responsible for the name ‘Australia’ being adopted. He didn’t invent the name, but his suggestion that what had been known as Terra Australis and New Holland should be called Australia was what led to the formal naming of the continent.
The poor chap had to put into French-controlled Mauritius for repairs on his way back to England – after already having been shipwrecked and saving his crew by making a long journey in an open boat back to Sidney. He was unaware that Britain and France were at war again after a truce. He had internationally recognised documentation allowing him, as an explorer, free passage, but these were ignored and he was held prisoner on the island for seven years.
He had always had health problems, and when he finally did make it home he was not a well man. He barely had time to write up his official account of his voyages before he died, at the age of 40. A copy of his book, which had only just been published, was placed beneath his hand as he lay on his deathbed.