It is January 1719. Nearly sixty, Daniel Defoe is mired in political controversy, legal threats and health issues, but for the moment he is preoccupied by a younger man on a barren shore—Robinson Crusoe.
Several miles south, another old man, Robert Knox, sits bent over a heavy volume—published nearly forty years before. Knox’s Historical Relation was a best seller when it was published in 1681, just a year after he escaped from Ceylon and returned to England.
This book explores the real men and their stories. Defoe who imagined great adventures and Knox who lived and wrote about his real shipwreck adventure on the island of Ceylon. It then explores how their writings created a whole genre of adventure, lone-man survival stories especially ones modeled after Defoe’s main character, Crusoe.