Meg and John Bains are stunned when they find themselves signed on as crew aboard an old, leaky, under-manned sailing ship bound from Quebec to Jamaica with a load of timber.
They've seen hard times and know hard work--Canada in the early 1870s is suffering a major Depression, and Meg and John have just finished a long, cold winter working in a lumber camp. But this ship is worse than anything they've seen: her captain is a tyrant, deeply in debt, and he drives the ship to reckless extremes. Meg and John's only consolation comes from their shipmates, who teach them the seamanship skills they need to survive.
From Jamaica they cross to Liverpool with a load of sugar-cane and survive a near-mutiny. On the return trip to Halifax, the leaking derelict is outfitted to carry 350 poor migrants to the New World. It uncertain whether any of them--the Bains included--will complete the horrific passage alive.
Set against a background of gritty, hard-driving sailors and square-rigged ships, The Last Voyage of the Scotian is the story of two young people determined to survive in a harsh world. The book is illustrated with photos showing the glories and hardships of the great age of sail.
This is the second book in the Bains series of historical novels, well-researched, action-filled narratives following the travels of one family across Canada--from Newfoundland to Alberta-- in search of a better life during the hard times of the 1870s.
"Freeman has succeeded in balancing a suspenseful plot with a sensitive play of characters."