The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder (8.5 hours), the latest work of narrative nonfiction from David Grann (Killers of the Flower Moon), details the gruesome experiences of 18th-century British sailors who were marooned on an island off the coast of Patagonia, living for months on the verge of starvation. Their harrowing tale of survival, which plummets to the very depths of desperation, is rendered with such visceral realism that you feel a hair’s breadth from experiencing it for yourself. Only a fraction of the original crew survived to return to Britain to tell their story, which became a source of inspiration for centuries of fictional shipwreck narratives.
Grann reads the author’s note and acknowledgments, but the rest of the audiobook is performed by prolific narrator and actor Dion Graham (Malcolm X, “The Wire”), whose clear, powerful voice provides a strong backbone for the story. As an American, he could be seen as representing the modern historian looking back on this captivating saga.