Captain Cook's Apprentice

Captain Cook's Apprentice, by Anthony Hill, Published by Penguin-Viking Melbourne, enlarged Second Edition July 2018, 286 pages with maps. Original edition published September 2008.

Signed author copy $33 plus postage here


Historical Notes to Second Edition


Captain Cook's Journal  Joseph Banks's Journal  Background   Chapter Notes    Teaching Notes

A Captain Cook Memorial Plate


Captain Cook Memorial, Point Venus, Tahiti


The boy knew danger was coming. He could hear it ... He could feel it ... And then he could see it ...

  'Hill's marvellous recreation ... is a pleasure to read'   Peter Fuller


WINNER of the 2009 NSW Premier's Young People's History Prize

... A compelling adventure rich in historical detail ... an exciting, page-turning novel that breathes new life into ... Cook's journeys. This wonderful book...' Judges' Citation. Full report in Newsletter.

Captain Cook's Apprentice is the story of the famous Endeavour voyage as seen through the eyes of a ship's boy, Isaac Manley.


Death in the snows of Tierra del Fuego ... first love in Tahiti ... Maori warriors and cannibals in New Zealand ... Botany Bay ... near-disaster on the Great Barrier Reef ... and real tragedy waiting for them in Java. Isaac Manley saw it all. A real boy, who  was promoted Midshipman by Captain Cook, Isaac Manley went on to become an Admiral and was the last survivor of the Endeavour crew.

Captain Cook's Apprentice was published by Penguin Books in September 2008, and went into reprint within two months. It has been widely praised by critics.


Historical fiction is easy to promote when it is so well written, involving and full of adventure... I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Fran Knight, Viewpoint magazine. 

 Writing Captain Cook's Apprentice


Anthony Hill has written his story with a close eye to historical accuracy and the actual events as they unfolded during the voyage. This page includes a full set of Chapter Notes to Captain Cook's Apprentice, a set of Teachers' Notes  written by Jean Yates, and the complete References and useful Internet Sites. Interested readers are invited to download them.


Anthony's research included a sail on the Endeavour replica from Melbourne to Sydney,  to get a sense of what it was like to be on an 18th century ship. He visited Cook sites in New Zealand, Tahiti and Britain.  


And he was privileged to spend four hours sitting with Captain Cook's handwritten Endeavour journal at the National Library of Australia. It is one of our great National Treasures.  Joseph Banks's Journal is at the State Library of NSW. For more info about writing Captain Cook's Apprentice, see the Q&A and also the background article The Idea of Isaac.


Captain Cook's Apprentice Q & A



Where did you get the idea?

I was reading a biography of Captain Cook when I came across a single sentence that referred to Isaac Manley, Endeavour's servant boy who became an Admiral. I immediately thought: What a great way to tell the great adventure for a new generation of readers!

 How accurate is the book?

I spent nearly two years researching the book to make sure the external facts were as accurate as I possible. The story of the  Endeavour voyage is exciting enough without making things up.  But I had to make it come alive. The internals of thought, emotion and speech can only come from the writer.

What do you hope to achieve with Captain Cook's Apprentice?

Endeavour's voyage to the South Seas was one of the most important voyages of discovery ever made. 

Australia and New Zealand were colonised, although it also led to the destruction of much indigenous culture and society.

Yet over more than 200 years the sheer adventure of the story has become rather forgotten. I wanted to tell it again with all the wonder and vibrancy the tale had when people first heard it.

For more information go to Anthony Hill's extended background article  The Idea of Isaac about writing Captain Cook's Apprentice.

Captain Cook's landing place, Botany Bay