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It was 1799, and French privateers lurked in the Atlantic and the Bay of Bengal. Yet Eleanor Reid, newly married and just twenty-one years old, made up her mind to sail with her husband, Captain Hugh Reid, to the Pacific, the Spice Islands and India. Danger threatened not just from the barely charted seas they would be sailing, but from the lowest deck of Captain Reid’s East Indiaman Friendship, too—from the cages of Irish rebels he was carrying to the penal colony of New South Wales. Yet, confident in her love and her husband’s seamanship, Eleanor insisted on going along.
Joan Druett, writer of many books about the sea, including the bestseller Island of the Lost, and the groundbreaking story of women under sail, Hen Frigates, embellishes Eleanor’s journal with a commentary that illuminates the strange story of a remarkable young woman.