In 1789 hack writer Ben Dearlove sets out to trace the anonymous author of a best-selling book about a voyage to the Great Southern Continent. Everyone thinks the book is fiction: Captain Cook proved there was no Southern Continent. But others are interested in the author’s secrets, and the quest proves more dangerous than Ben had anticipated. Before he can discover the shocking truth, Ben has to get out of prison, catch a thief, and bring a murderer to justice.
“A gripping, thrilling mystery…the plot is complex, exciting, and has a high degree of suspense maintained right to the end.”
Sarah Cuthbertson, Historical Novel Society
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The Great Southern Continent
For centuries after Pythagoras invented the notion, men believed in the existence of a continent in the southern hemisphere, balancing the land masses of the north. Marco Polo, Amerigo Vespucci and Magellan all thought they had found parts of this land. Medieval maps such as Gerard Mercator’s in 1541 showed the outline of a massive Terra Australis. At the end of the seventeenth century, William Dampier sailed in search of it. Admiral Byron thought he glimpsed it in 1765. In 1766 Samuel Wallis left England and Comte Louis Antoine de Bougainville left France to look for the continent. On both his first and second voyages Captain Cook was instructed to search for this “continent of great extent never yet explored”.
It was Captain Cook who demonstrated, once and for all, that there was no Great Southern Continent. But in 1772 Cook’s second voyage had only just begun, and it was still possible to believe that the Continent existed. Thus it is at this unique point in history that I have placed my story of a voyage to the Great Southern Continent – To The Fair Land.