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Masterman Ready   By: (1792-1848)

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Masterman Ready by Frederick Marryat is a captivating and thrilling tale of survival and adventure. Set in the early 19th century, the story follows the Cringle family as they embark on a journey aboard the merchant ship, the Pacific. However, their voyage takes an unexpected turn when the ship strikes a hidden rock and sinks, leaving the passengers and crew to fend for themselves on a deserted island.

The heart of the story lies in the character of the enigmatic Masterman Ready, a mysterious man who had spent years living alone on the island prior to the shipwreck. With his extensive knowledge and survival skills, Ready becomes the guiding force and protector for the survivors. His resourcefulness and ingenuity are remarkable, providing the group with shelter, food, and protection from the dangers of the island.

Marryat's vivid descriptions and attention to detail bring the story to life, immersing the reader in the harsh realities of survival. From the treacherous natural elements to encounters with wild animals and indigenous tribes, the author does not shy away from portraying the challenges faced by the characters. This adds an authentic and gritty edge to the narrative, making it all the more gripping and believable.

One aspect that sets Masterman Ready apart from other survival tales is its exploration of societal dynamics and character development. As the survivors adapt to their new circumstances, their true personalities and moral values are put to the test. From the naïve and idealistic Henry Cringle to the courageous and compassionate Ready, the characters undergo profound transformations, highlighting the resilience of the human spirit.

Moreover, Marryat expertly weaves in themes of prejudice, classism, and colonialism, offering a critical perspective on the social issues prevalent during the time period. Through the interactions between the surviving passengers and the indigenous people they encounter, the author prompts reflections on empathy, understanding, and the impact of cultural differences.

While the pacing of the novel may feel slow at times, it is a deliberate choice that allows for the development of both the plot and the characters. Marryat takes the time to delve into the intricate details of survival, painting a realistic picture and building suspense as the group faces one challenge after another.

In conclusion, Masterman Ready is a gripping and thought-provoking novel that seamlessly blends adventure, survival, and social commentary. With its memorable characters, vivid descriptions, and exploration of human nature, Frederick Marryat crafts a compelling tale that will keep readers captivated from beginning to end.

First Page:

Masterman Ready by Captain Marryat

Chapter I

It was in the month of October, 18 , that the Pacific, a large ship, was running before a heavy gale of wind in the middle of the vast Atlantic Ocean. She had but little sail, for the wind was so strong, that the canvas would have been split into pieces by the furious blasts before which she was driven through the waves, which were very high, and following her almost as fast as she darted through their boiling waters; sometimes heaving up her stern and sinking her bows down so deep into the hollow of the sea, that it appeared as if she would have dived down underneath the waves; but she was a fine vessel, and the captain was a good seaman, who did what he considered best for the safety of his vessel, and then put his trust in that Providence who is ever watchful over us.

The captain stood before the wheel, watching the men who were steering the ship; for when you are running before a heavy gale, it requires great attention to the helm: and as he looked around him and up at the heavens, he sang in a low voice the words of a sea song:

"One wide water all around us, All above us one black sky."

And so it was with them; they were in the middle of the Atlantic, not another vessel to be seen, and the heavens were covered with black clouds, which were borne along furiously by the gale; the sea ran mountains high, and broke into large white foaming crests, while the fierce wind howled through the rigging of the vessel... Continue reading book >>

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