Return of Lono: A Novel of Captain Cook's Last Voyage by O.A. Bushnell


Paperback. Condition: Good. 1979. The University Press of Hawaii.


This story is a fictional reconstruction of the momentous visit to the island of Hawaii in 1779 by Captain James Cook and his company aboard H.M.S. Resolution and Discovery. The natives believed this first white visitor to be Lono, their long-awaited god of agriculture and the harvest. Realizing the benefits of being thought a god, Cook did nothing to dispel the misconception. Although most of his crew thoroughly enjoyed the pleasures offered by the island paradise, some men, including Ship's Master William Bligh (later captain of H.M.S. Bounty) and the American colonist John Ledyard, feared and resented the false position taken by their practical captain. In the quiet rebellion that followed, Captain Cook, a scientist and a man of reason, would not be persuaded by the convictions of his religious antagonist, who believed the mission doomed to failure because of his blasphemous acts. The accuracy of their predictions is left for the reader to decide.

The story is told by Jonathan Forrest, a midshipman on Cook's flagship, the Resolution. Through his eyes are shown many scenes of shipboard and island life, the thoughts and actions of the ill-fated captain, and the events leading ultimately to the tragedy which affected the first Europeans to visit the Hawaiian Islands.