Books: A Ship Is Wrecked

BOON ISLAND (275 pp.)—Kenneth Roberts—Doubleday ($3.75).

Novelist Kenneth (Northwest Passage) Roberts likes men who pull their weight. His heroes are generally fellows whose characters are compounded of the good, old-fashioned virtues, and their crises sometimes find them with little but hope to sustain them under pressure. His new novel, Boon Island—the first since Lydia Bailey in 1947—is a grim little tale of survival. Based on a true story, it tells of a shipwreck in which each man's size and courage are fully measured during 24 days of simple horror.

On the night of Dec. 11, 1710, England's Nottingham galley was smashed to bits...

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