Miracle: The True Story of the Wreck of the Sea Venture
Gail Langor Karwoski
Illustrated by John McDonald
Ages 10 and up
Darby Creek, 2004, 1-58196-015-8
When the Venture set sail with eight other ships bound for the new English colony of Jamestown, her passengers could not possibly have imagined what lay ahead of them. About a month and a half into the voyage a terrible hurricane hit the convoy and Venture was separated from the other ships. Badly beaten by the waves, taking on water, and getting blown to who knows where, the Venture flew across the ocean until she ended up on one of the reefs off the islands of Bermuda. By some miracle no lives were lost and the passengers were able to salvage much of the timber and supplies from the wreck of the Venture.
The passengers soon found that they had indeed ended up in a most acceptable place. There was plenty of food, fresh water, no biting insects, no disease, and no unfriendly native peoples. Most still wanted to get to Jamestown and less than a year after their abrupt arrival in the Bermudas, they arrived at the settlement. What they found was terrible. The people were starving, sick, and many had died. Indeed many of their fellow travelers who had sailed away from England in the nine ship convoy had perished in Jamestown during what came to be called “the Starving time.” What many of the Venture passengers came to understand was that being shipwrecked may in fact have saved their lives.
This extraordinary account not only describes what happened to the Venture and her passengers but it also gives readers all the information they need to understand the context of the story. Readers will come to understand how hard travel was at this time and how uncertain the future could be. Both vivid and exciting, the account is made very personal as well because the author includes biographies of the principal characters. In addition she has included small sections which describe shipbuilding, travel, food preservation and more.
Beautiful illustrations, photographs, maps, and reproductions of artworks can be found throughout this exceptional work of non-fiction.
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