cover image Mutiny


John Boyne, . . St. Martin's/Dunne, $25.95 (399pp) ISBN 978-0-312-53856-9

Boyne (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas ) revisits William Bligh's doomed expedition in this adequate seafaring historical. Captain's servant John Jacob Turnstile, a 14-year-old orphan and thief, avoids a prison sentence by accepting a position aboard Bligh's ship, the Bounty . The ship's mission to Tahiti is tumultuous, and once the ship reaches its destination, some crew members become enamored of the island women. On the return voyage, they stage a mutiny and turn the ship around, forcing Bligh and the sailors loyal to him onto a small boat with minimal provisions. Boyne's take on the story capitalizes less on the tension among the warring factions, focusing more heavily on Turnstile's coming-of-age, while Bligh wavers between an abrasive task master and a health nut with a sensitive side. The novel succeeds as a historical adventure, but it doesn't add much to the already bulging bulk of Bounty books. (Feb.)