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Nathaniel's Nutmeg

Giles Milton

Average Review Rating Average Rating 8/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Sceptre

Published : 1999

Copyright : Giles Milton 1999

ISBN-10 : PB 0-340-69676-1
ISBN-13 : PB 978-0-340-69676-7

Publisher's Write-Up

Nathaniel's Nutmeg is the extraordinary story of nutmeg, the spice trade, the island of Run and a heroic English adventurer.

'Beautifully touching... To write a book that makes the reader, after finishing it, sit in a trance, lost in his passionate desire to pack a suitcase and go, somehow, to the fabulous place - that, in the end, is something one could give a sack of nutmeg for.'

Philip Hensher, The Spectator

'Giles Milton tells his adventurous and sometimes grisly tale with relish… The thoroughness and intelligence of his research underpins the lively confidence with which he deploys it.'

John Spurling, The Times Literary Supplement

'Milton has created a truly gripping tale of jingoistic pride, atrocious cruelty, avarice and double-dealing… His research is impeccable and his narrative reads in part like a modern day Robert Louis Stevenson novel. Once embarked upon the journey of the book, one is loath, sometimes unable, as were the characters within it, to turn back and abandon it.'

Martin Booth, The Sunday Times
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Reader Reviews

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Review by Chrissi (010202) Rating (8/10)

Review by Chrissi
Rating 8/10
I picked a copy of this up one day to read to a claustrophobic patient, and even though I had only read a few pages, knew that I wanted to finish it. I have to admit to a real weakness for watching the old films with Errol Flynn as a pirate sailing all those ships and I know that it was not all swash and buckle but scurvy and drowning.

I remember going to see HMS Victory in Portsmouth many years ago and I got to sit in one of the hammocks that they slept in below decks. To an eleven year old it all seemed wonderful but spending six months in close company with other sailors and no fresh food, banging out the weevils from your ships biscuits, I really do not think that I would thank you for it. And yet I am extremely glad that those men did, and that someone thought enough of them to write this book.

Nathaniel, although the title character, is not the main thread of the story. The majority of the narrative concerns the early Spice Trade of the East Indies. The main protagonists are the English and the Dutch, and in vying for the spice trade and the amazing wealth that it would command. This is one of the instances where what was historically a loss actually turned out to be the complete polar opposite. It all doesn't make sense until fairly close to the end when the history is all revealed, but you will be so enthralled that you will not care. I certainly didn't.
Chrissi (1st February 2002)

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