Book Review by Mary Guss
November 15, 2006
Samuel Bawlf, a geographer and former minister in the British Columbia provincial government, has written the story of what he calls Sir Francis' secret voyage. His theory is that Drake sailed all the way north to Kuiu Island on the directions of Queen Elizabeth I, and there he left one of his famous metal plates:
Inside a cave, "partway up a high vertical cliff" MacDonald found "[a] small, rectangular piece of metal, and carrying it out to daylight, found in its corner holes containing rust indicating that it had once been nailed to something." He made a rubbing of the plate and sent the rubbing to the Smithsonian. The was a Latin inscription on the plate which, MacDonald said, read that "Francis Drake had named some place 'Port Discovery' and had taken possession of the surrounding country in the name of Queen Elizabeth. However, MacDonald said that he was told the plate must be a hoax, as there was no record of Drake being anywhere near Alaska."
Bawlf's book reads like a grand
and suspenseful adventure story. He clearly finds Drake to be
an intriguing individual and conveys the charm and breadth of
his character to the reader. You will meet Sir Francis Drake
the privateer (the very next thing to a pirate), the world class
sailor and navigator and the hero of England's defeat of the
Spanish Armada in 1588. That alone would make this a fascinating
book. But add the author's theory that Drake visited Southeast
Alaska in the late 1500's and it becomes a book that's very difficult
to put down.
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