July 10, 2006

Historical Fiction Too

Michelle Torrey writes of the disappointments and drama aboard the fleet of the famed Ferdinand Magellan as he strives to find a westbound route to the Far East, To the Edge of the World, for the kingdom of Spain.

This Portuguese explorer faced the antipathy of the Spaniards on his crew, harsh conditions of storms, extreme heat and cold lost ships and attempts at mutiny only to be done in by battling the enemies of a Filipino chief who was newly baptized as a Catholic, and who connivingly told Magellan that the neighboring tribe were enemies of good. The proselytizing mania that drove many of the Catholic 'conquistadors' to maim and pillage in the name of the Church proved to be Magellan's undoing; in trying to punish evil, he was killed in action, and many of his crew as well never returned to Spain.

Torrey attempts to put a comprehensible face on something her young readers may have previously struggled to understand, and mostly succeeds.

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