This is the story of Robert Holding, a young English adventurer who was only 23 when he was shipwrecked with 19 others on the Auckland Islands in the sub-Antarctic Ocean in 1864. A year later he was rescued, along with only two of his shipmates. The others had perished from starvation and exposure. It was when Madelene Ferguson Allen was researching the history of her birth family that she discovered she was Holding's great-granddaughter. Then she learned of the existence of his account of the shipwreck and his enforced stay on the Aucklands, so she decided to retrace his footsteps. This book is an account of her journey, not only tracing the voyage of the Invercauld, but also the life of Robert Holding. Allen intersperses her narrative with extracts from Holding's own journal, revealing an extraordinary tale of survival, in which conflict, cannibalism and cunning all play a part. The survivors' rescue is in itself a hair-raising tale of intrigue and deception. Wake of the Invercauld is a gripping story that will enthral anyone interested in true adventure at sea.
Madelene Ferguson Allen was a geographer, teacher and writer who lived in Ontario, Canada. She travelled widely, spending considerable time in New Zealand and the sub-Antarctic islands, researching for this book and for another book about a famous shipwreck that will be published by Exisle in 2006. An earlier book, Reunion: Search for my Birth Family first brought her to the south Pacific. Madelene was married with two children. She died in 2003.