Lorri Glover and Daniel Blake Smith
Henry Holt and Co.
A freshly researched account of the dramatic rescue of the Jamestown
The English had long dreamed of colonizing America, especially after Sir Francis Drake brought home Spanish treasure and dramatic tales from his raids in the Caribbean. Ambitions of finding gold and planting a New World colony seemed within reach when in 1606 Thomas Smythe extended overseas trade with the launch of the Virginia Company. But from the beginning the American enterprise was a disaster. Within two years warfare with Indians and dissent among the settlers threatened to destroy Smythe’s Jamestown just as it had Raleigh’s Roanoke a generation earlier.
To rescue the doomed colonists and restore order, the company chose a new leader, Thomas Gates. Nine ships left Plymouth in the summer of 1609—the largest fleet England had ever assembled—and sailed into the teeth of a storm so violent that “it beat all light from Heaven.” The inspiration for Shakespeare’s The Tempest, the hurricane separated the flagship from the fleet, driving it onto reefs off the coast of Bermuda—a lucky shipwreck (all hands survived) which proved the turning point in the colony’s fortune.
“In this gripping account of shipwreck, mutiny, perseverance, and deliverance, the epic story of the wreck of the Sea Venture and its consequences for the survival of Jamestown, England's first successful colony in the New World, is told for the first time. Glover and Smith persuasively make the case that in saving themselves, the 150 castaways stranded for nearly a year on the remote island of Bermuda ultimately saved English America.”—James Horn, author of A Land As God Made It: Jamestown and the Birth of America