When James Cook was hacked to death by Hawaiian islanders on 14 February 1779, he was already considered the greatest explorer of his age. Born in obscurity but gripped by a boundless passion for new horizons, he became the greatest combination of seaman, explorer, navigator, and cartographer that the world had ever known. He still is. He had driven himself mercilessly, and his men likewise, and yet the surgeon's mate on the Resolution was able to write: 'In every situation he stood unrivalled and alone; on him all eyes were turned; he was our leading star, which at its setting left us involved in darkness and despair'.
Author: MacLean, Alistair
Publication date: 24/02/2020