What happened to them next is the subject of author Stephen Taylor's account. The book has been published under two titles – The Caliban Shore in 2004, and Caliban's Shore in 2005 – but under either title, this is a gripping tale of a true event that is as amazing as anything a writer of fiction could imagine. Mr. Taylor draws upon unpublished material and (at the time the book was written) new research, weaving together anthropology, social history and adventure in a story of people rising to heroism and, too often, sinking to less-than-heroic depths.
Don't expect to be plunged immediately into action. Mr. Taylor takes some time to set the scene for the catastrophe that is to come. What you can expect, with a bit of patience, is a tale of people far from home – hundreds of miles, in fact, from the nearest European outpost – and struggling to survive in an incomprehensible land. That's a word, in fact, that the author uses in describing the survivors' discovery that they were not alone on this unknown shore: “They surveyed one another with mutual incomprehension: on the one hand, the disheveled castaways; on the other, black warriors with high conical hairstyles, daubed with red mud ...”
Some of the survivors eventually returned to England. But not all. The author tells of the fates, and probable fates, of both groups. He reaches to the heart of the mystery in a story that is compelling, disturbing, and that will haunt your thoughts long after you close the book on the last page.