On April 28, 1789, Fletcher Christian led a mutiny aboard HMS BOUNTY and forced Capt. William Bligh and eighteen men overboard. History tells us that the mutineers settled on Pitcairn Island in the South Pacific where their idyll came to a violent end in a native uprising. But there are numerous historical incidents suggesting that Christian was not killed and managed to escape.
In Kinsolving's novel, Christian does escape, and subsequently frees a beautiful young Englishwoman, Daphne, from debauched privateers. Together they reach a deserted island where they fall deeply in love - a love that sustains them both through the worst of times that follow.