Ten sea adventures not featuring a character named Ahab
Wed Mar 25 2009
- Typee, by Herman Melville
It was Melville’s first book, and based on his life as a captive in the South Seas. Riveting stuff, and way more popular in its day than his later doorstop Moby Dick.
- Horatio Hornblower series, by C.S. Forester
This series, following the life and career of a young straight arrow in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars is, to use TONY Music writer Hank Shteamer’s word, “unputdownable.”
- Afloat, by Guy de Maupassant
A protg of Flaubert who was eventually killed off by syphilis, Maupassant crafted a tale of obsession and a severe case of cabin fever.
- High Wind in Jamaica, by Richard Hughes
Hughes made quite a living writing tales on the high seas, and this was one of his best. Pirates, ladies and more pirates.
- Captain Blood, by Rafael Sabatini
Often overshadowed by the Errol Flynn movie of the same name, the book is a landmark of swashbucklehood.
- Sea of Poppies, by Amitav Ghosh
Ghosh’s story of colonial India, diverse language and spiritual awakenings is, awesomely, only the first part in a planned trilogy.
- Two Years Before the Mast, by Richard Henry Dana Jr.
Dana’s diary of a dreary sailor’s life became an instant classic upon its publication, and is enough to make one think twice about running away to sea.
- The Voyage of the Beagle, by Charles Darwin
Dude invented evolution (sort of). Just goes to show what a man and his boat can do.
- Typhoon, by Joseph Conrad
No offense to Nabokov, but Conrad is the best English-as-a-second-language writer, and this high-seas tale proves it.
- Sailing Alone Around the World, by Joshua Slocum
We all, at times, dream of dropping everything, jumping in a boat and taking off for parts unknown. Slocum actually did it.