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landfalls

Landfalls by Naomi Williams is an historical novel about the Laperouse Expedition told from a number of perspectives. It explores the outfitting of ships with the voice of engineer, Monneron, through to the bureaucratic battle to use the Laperouse name as told by his sister, Jacquette.  The final encounter is between Barthelemy de Lesseps who departed the expedition at Kamchatka and Peter Dillon who discovered relics from the wrecks in 1826:

WEB MillstoneThe last item was a small millstone, broken in two, lying on a heavy floor-cloth.  Dillon explained, trying not to sound too shamefaced, that it had split in half when they rolled it over in Vanikroro.  “We found it in the same village as the post with the fleur-de-lis”, he added………..And now here was Lesseps, crouched in judgemental silence before the millstone that had cost Dillon so much trouble.  His mood darkened by memories of Rathea, Dillon now wondered wretchedly if he’d brought back a native tool.  Had he taken some island woman’s grinding stone for no reason?  But then Lesseps put one hand over his mouth and said in a hoardse whisper, “This is the best thing you have”…………………”We had two millstones on the Astrolabe,”  Lesseps said.  He explained that the stone had been connected to an ingenious windmill Captain de Langle had set up on the decks of both frigates to provide fresh flour.

ABC  National Interview with Naomi Williams

Naomi Williams’ website page  

Download the first chapter from BBC

(pictured above one of the millstones from the Astrolabe which is on display in the Laperouse Museum)

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