William Clark Russell was born into an artistic and musical English family. However, from an early age, he developed a passion for the sea and at 13, he left school to join the merchant navy. However, the hard life and rough company of the sea soon took its toll on his health. At 21 he left the nautical life and started a new phase as a writer and journalist. Most of his works are centered round the seafaring life. He wrote a weekly column in several newspapers where he recounted many of his experiences in the merchant navy. He also began writing novels under several pseudonyms. However, his first nautical novel, John Holdsworth, Chief Mate published in 1875 was where he found his true calling. Though the book met with only modest success, Russell persevered. His next book, The Wreck of the Grosvenor was an instant bestseller. He went on to write more than fifty books, all of them containing a seafaring motif.
Russell's sea stories earned him the reputation for being a master in his field. He was greatly respected and admired by fellow writers like Melville and poets like Swinburne. Arthur Conan Doyle makes a reference to him in The Adventure of the Five Orange Pips, where he says Dr. Watson was immersed “deep in one of Clark Russell's fine sea stories.”
Abandoned is an entertaining and gripping story, full of atmosphere and romance.
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