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Dear Amazon,

This week, for the Friday Five Challenge, could you please take me from this:


to this?


HIGH: 106F/41C

HIGH: 106F/41C

The weather report online is exactly the same every day for the foreseeable future. Basically, we don’t need to worry about turning on the oven because eggs will fry on the sidewalk.

So for Rosie Amber’s Friday Five Challenge, my request is simple—cool me off, Amazon. I think you can guess where my first keyword, frozen, took me. A quick modification led me to Books : Travel : Polar Regions. The choices started with my old favorite, the incredible survival story of Shackleton’s adventures aboard the Endurance. But that would be cheating, right? Luckily, only a bit further along, I was taken by the cover of Island of the Lost: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World.

Rosie Amber’s Friday Five challenge is to take ONLY FIVE MINUTES to browse an unfamiliar category and select a book based solely on the cover art.

Book blurb:

island-of-the-lostAuckland Island is a godforsaken place in the middle of the Southern Ocean, 285 miles south of New Zealand. With year-round freezing rain and howling winds, it is one of the most forbidding places in the world. To be shipwrecked there means almost certain death.

In 1864 Captain Thomas Musgrave and his crew of four aboard the schooner Grafton wreck on the southern end of the island. Utterly alone in a dense coastal forest, plagued by stinging blowflies and relentless rain, Captain Musgrave—rather than succumb to this dismal fate—inspires his men to take action. With barely more than their bare hands, they build a cabin and, remarkably, a forge, where they manufacture their tools. Under Musgrave’s leadership, they band together and remain civilized through even the darkest and most terrifying days.

Incredibly, at the same time on the opposite end of the island—twenty miles of impassable cliffs and chasms away—the Invercauld wrecks during a horrible storm. Nineteen men stagger ashore. Unlike Captain Musgrave, the captain of the Invercauld falls apart given the same dismal circumstances. His men fight and split up; some die of starvation, others turn to cannibalism. Only three survive. Musgrave and all of his men not only endure for nearly two years, they also plan their own astonishing escape, setting off on one of the most courageous sea voyages in history.

Using the survivors’ journals and historical records, award-winning maritime historian Joan Druett brings this extraordinary untold story to life, a story about leadership and the fine line between order and chaos.




Book Title: Island of the Lost: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World

Author: Joan Druett

Publisher: Algonquin Books (May 17, 2007)

Price: $18.29/£16.14

Reviews: 273 for a total of 4.4 out of 5 stars 

Pages: 272

My Analysis: I thought the concept of contrasting the outcomes for two different ships and their crews—both shipwrecked on the same subarctic Auckland Island, but unbeknownst to each other—was pretty hot. But although the blurb seemed a bit lukewarm, there was a storm of review support. Many, including Publishers Weekly, compared it to a survival tale on the level of Shackleton and the Endurance (!). They praised author Joan Druett as a consummate researcher and storyteller. Although it sounds like a fabulous tale—and certainly a cold one!–at the end of the day the fact that it’s only available in paperback and priced so high left me cold. I would give it a PASS, but definitely pick up in a used book store.


Here is Rosie’s Friday Five Challenge. It only took five minutes and a couple more to write up, and was a ton of fun. I hope you’ll consider joining in. All Rosie asks is that you link back to her original post here so we can all join in viewing your challenge results.

AUTHORS – You often only have seconds to get a reader to buy your book, is your book cover and book bio up to it?

Rosie Amber's Friday Five Challenge. Get yourself a cuppa and give yourself 5 minutes.

Rosie Amber’s Friday Five Challenge. Get yourself a cuppa and give yourself 5 minutes.

My Friday Five Challenge is this….. IN ONLY FIVE MINUTES….

  1. Go to any online book supplier,
  2. Randomly choose a category,
  3. Speed through the book covers, choose one which has instantly appealed to your eye,
  4. Read the book Bio/ Description for this book, and any other details.
  5. If there are reviews, check out a couple,
  6. Make an instant decision, would you BUY or PASS?
  7. I’ll be back next week with another Friday Five Challenge, do feel free to join in.