When torrential summer rains uncover a bizarrely tattooed body on a hillside in England’s Lake District, locals are convinced it is the corpse of Fletcher Christian, infamous mutineer on the Bounty. Though history records that Christian died in a massacre on Pitcairn Island, Lakelanders have long maintained that he returned home—where his old friend and schoolmate, William Wordsworth, risked facing the gallows by harbouring the fugitive. It was rumoured that the poet had written an epic verse recounting Christian’s version of events, only to hide it away for fear its publication would result in his arrest.
For the Wordsworth scholar Jane Gresham, the missing manuscript—if indeed it ever existed—is the ultimate prize. But on her trail is someone with a more than academic interest in the 200-year-old text, someone who will kill to get their hands on a bounty worth millions.