• The Far Land

  • 200 Years of Murder, Mania, and Mutiny in the South Pacific
  • By: Brandon Presser
  • Narrated by: Steve Quinn
  • Length: 11 hrs and 8 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (30 ratings)

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The Far Land  By  cover art

The Far Land

By: Brandon Presser
Narrated by: Steve Quinn
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Publisher's Summary

A thrilling true tale of power, obsession, and betrayal at the edge of the world.

In 1808, an American merchant ship happened upon an uncharted island in the South Pacific and unwittingly solved the biggest nautical mystery of the era: the whereabouts of a band of fugitives who, after seizing their vessel, had disappeared into the night with their Tahitian companions. 

Pitcairn Island was the perfect hideaway from British authorities, but after nearly two decades of isolation, its secret society had devolved into a tribalistic hellscape; a real-life Lord of the Flies, rife with depravity and deception.

Seven generations later, the island’s diabolical past still looms over its 48 residents; descendants of the original mutineers, marooned like modern castaways. Only a rusty cargo ship connects Pitcairn with the rest of the world, just four times a year.  

In 2018, Brandon Presser rode the freighter to live among its present-day families; two clans bound by circumstance and secrets. While on the island, he pieced together Pitcairn’s full story: an operatic saga that holds all who have visited in its mortal clutch - even the author. 

Told through vivid historical and personal narrative, The Far Land goes beyond the infamous mutiny on the Bounty, offering an unprecedented glimpse at life on the fringes of civilization, and how, perhaps, it’s not so different from our own.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2022 Brandon Presser (P)2022 PublicAffairs
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

The Far Land swells in the cause and effect of actions of passion. Brandon Presser's fascinating narrative of the relentless consequences of the Bounty mutineers asks: were they brave or damned? They lived so very troubled ever after. You can’t make this stuff up!” (Tom Hanks)

"Meticulously researched…. Armchair adventurers will appreciate the author’s sharp and sympathetic eye, showing us the mechanics of a truly remote civilization. Presser’s detailed account provides a sense of authority to a story too bizarre to be anything but true.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“A highly accomplished travel writer, Brandon Presser's The Far Land hits a lot of my pleasure centers: remote islands, then-and-now non-fiction, historical mysteries and forthright travelogues. The first night I started reading, I dreamed about Pitcairn Island.” (Maggie Shipstead, New York Times best-selling author of Great Circle)

What listeners say about The Far Land

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Well, it seemed like a good idea, but. . .

Although the description made it sound as if this would be an interesting listen, it turned out not to be so interesting. I think a quote from one of the later chapters in the book is descriptive. The author was asked "how was it" at the conclusion of his trip to Pitcairn Island. He said it was like "a trailer court at the end of the world," or similar words. How true. There is some interesting history about the HMS Bounty mutineers and the Lord of the Flies like ending for most of the them after they reached what they thought was paradise. I was also surprised to learn about the modern descendant's rather different mores about female children. But the author found that the current residents were reclusive and downright unfriendly despite their attempt to encourage tourism on the island. Overall, i can say that i almost asked to return the book but stuck it out, although there seemed to be particularly good reason to do so, much as there seemed no particularly good reason for the author to return a second time to the area, going to Norfolk Island.

2 people found this helpful

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Hugely disappointing

Having just listened to the excellent "Mutiny on the Bounty" by Peter Fitzsimmons I listened to this as it promised to fill in some of the gaps after the last of the mutineers was discovered on Pitcairn. However, it failed to deliver. There was too much on the mutiny itself (and not very well covered as the author did not give it the time needed), not enough of the mutineers time on Pitcairn and their descent into hell, not on enough on the history of the island and too much travelogue.

Sorry but this didn't work for me.

1 person found this helpful

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  • K
  • 03-29-22

I’m not the only one.

After searching many histories related to exploration of the South Pacific and leading to mutiny on the Bounty I finally realize, I’m not the only one.

As an amateur, I know a bit about the history from a few different angles and sources. This book is so well done that I still got lost in the story numerous times. A credit to both author and reader. In most things unless there is evidence against I take the story at face value. So I accept that Fletcher Christian probably died near the time of the massacre. My wife asked me who I was in the story, because I couldn’t stop talking about it. Without thinking I realized I always thought I would be Fletcher Christian. Going to Pitcairn has been on my radar for some time. After hearing this book and all the aspects that have happened since, I have almost no desire to go to Pitcairn. I’d rather keep it as an imagination. I now think I could almost identify more with Bligh because he’s the one guy who did what he said he would do and carried out his mission. Other new ground is that when Fletcher breathed his last, whenever that was, he left his sons and daughters unprotected. Powerful consequences. As a believer in the scripture of the Bible and Jesus Christ for the remission of sin, I have my own realization of what missionaries have done around the world and how it could’ve been done differently. The best works are always the ones that we continue pondering for days weeks months or even years. The last time I remember such an empath was upon finishing Dickens’ David Copperfield. Great job!

1 person found this helpful

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If you like the history of the mutiny on the Bounty than you shall enjoy the book

It’s half history of Pitcairn island and the mutineers , and what life is like there today.
Good writing and a captivating narrative.

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it's kinda interesting

I was distracted the entire time about how much is fact, and how much is being inferred. The writer is poetic and prosaic for non-fiction.

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Great encapsulation of the entire story.

The contrast between the initial tale up to their arrival on Pitcairn, and what came after, is brutal. This story weaves the story of the mutiny, what happens after they escape to Pitcairn, what happens to their descendants, and present day conditions on the island.

The overarching themes that emerge are that you can't escape modern society, and that if you try, the grass will very likely not be greener. What starts as the romantic pursuit of freedom and escape, rapidly descends into petty violence, and anguish. Not only did the mutuneers end their days in squalor and violence, but their efforts cursed multiple future generations to the same fate. Hundreds of lives squandered by the unwise aspirations of a handful.