The Custom of the Sea by Neil Hanson
An incredible tale of disaster, cannibalism, and survival.
On 5 July 1884 the yacht Mignonette set sail from Southampton for Sydney. Halfway through their voyage, a monstrous storm hits – with horrific consequences.
Battling howling seas and hurricane sales, Captain Tom Dudley and his crew are finally overcome after four days, with the survivors cast adrift on a 13-foot dinghy. Without food, water or shelter, the situation becomes increasingly dire as the days pass.
Living on turtle flesh, the crew waste away over the next week while stranded at sea and death seems unavoidable. Upon their rescue 24 days later, only three men remained, and their stories were nightmarish.
Delirious, they confessed everything to their rescuers: how they were forced to resort to cannibalism, picking off the weakest of their numbers.
Neil Hanson illustrates the true story behind the infamous Mignonette disaster that changed murder laws throughout the world, detailing how the crew gradually become almost insane with hunger and the agonising moments that lead to the decision to kill one of their own.
Neil Hanson has worked as a holiday-camp redcoat, run several art and photography galleries, travelled around the world twice, edited the Good Beer Guide and a sports newspaper, owned the highest pub in Britain, written for every British national newspaper and for media throughout the world. He has also written thirty books, some under his own name and others under various noms de plume. He now lives in the Yorkshire Dales with his partner, Lynn, and children, Jack and Drew.