Landfalls by Naomi J Williams
Published by Little, Brown
22nd October 2015
An epic voyage, undertaken with the grandest of ambitions.
When Lapérouse leaves France in the Spring of 1785 with two ships under his command, he knows that he sails with the full backing of the French government. This is to be a voyage of scientific and geographical discovery - but every person on board has their own hopes, ambitions and dreams.
As the ships move across vast distances in their journey of nearly four years, the different characters step forward and invite us into their world. From the remote Alaskan bay where a dreadful tragedy unfolds, to the wild journey Barthélemy de Lessups undertakes from the far east of Russia to St Petersburg, the reader sees the emotional, physical and mental toll exacted by such an endeavour.
I'm a sucker for a book with an aesthetically pleasing cover, and it was the front of Landfalls that led me to read it. I loved the design so much that it didn't matter what the content was, I was going to read it. What I experienced was a journey into the history books of the late 1700s on board two French ships.
Jean_Francois de Galaup, comte de La Perouse is the captain of the ill-fated La Boussole and alongside her sister ship Astrolabe, set sail in 1785 to circumnaivigate the globe and bring back new scientific and geographical knowledge that will bring fame and fortune to all on board. In this fictional re-telling of this quest for French glory, we follow the narrative of those on board both ships and of the experiences they endure. The journey was ill-fated in that both ships fail to return to France, yet Naomi J Williams has brought their tale to life in what is a very enjoyable read.
This isn't a dry historical novel but an engrossing story that is filled with sadness as we travel alongside our sailors, knowing, unlike them, that they will never return home to the shores of France.
Miss Chapter x