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If Britain's maritime history were embodied in a single ship, she would have a prehistoric prow, a mast plucked from a Victorian steamship, the hull of a modest fishing vessel, the propeller of an ocean liner and an anchor made of stone. We might call her Asunder, and, fantastical though she is, we could in fact find her today, scattered in fragments across the country's creeks and coastlines. This extraordinary book collects those fragments for a profound and haunting exploration of our seafaring past.
In his moving and original new history, Tom Nancollas goes in search of eleven relics that together tell the story of Britain at sea. From the swallowtail prow of a Bronze Age vessel to a stone ship moored at a Baroque quayside, each one illuminates a distinct phase of our adventures upon the waves; each brings us close to the people, places and vessels that made a maritime nation. Weaving together stories of great naval architects and unsung shipwrights, fishermen and merchants, shipwrecks and superstition, pilgrimage, trade and war, The Ship Asunder celebrates the richness of Britain's seafaring tradition in all its glory and tragedy, triumph and disaster, and asks how we might best memorialise it as it vanishes from our shores.
© Tom Nancollas 2022 (P) Penguin Audio 2022
Elegantly combining a tour of Britain's ports, coasts and islands with a tour of an imaginary ship that contains fragments acquired across the centuries, Tom Nancollas has written an enchanting and thoughtful account of Britain's rich maritime heritage.