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To the Ends of the Earth: A Sea Trilogy Paperback – 27 Apr 1992

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Product details

  • Paperback: 768 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; New edition edition (27 April 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571166989
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571166985
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 4 x 12.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 591,007 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

William Golding was born in Cornwall in 1911 and was educated at Marlborough Grammar School and at Brasenose College, Oxford. Before he became a schoolmaster he was an actor, a lecturer, a small-boat sailor and a musician. A now rare volume, Poems, appeared in 1934. In 1940 he joined the Royal Navy and saw action against battleships, submarines and aircraft. He was present at the sinking of the Bismarck. He finished the war as a Lieutenant in command of a rocket ship, which was off the French coast for the D-day invasion, and later at the island of Welcheren. After the war he returned to Bishop Wordsworth's School in Salisbury and was there when his first novel, Lord of the Flies, was published in 1954. He gave up teaching in 1961.

Lord of the Flies was filmed by Peter Brook in 1963. Golding listed his hobbies as music, chess, sailing, archaeology and classical Greek (which he taught himself). Many of these subjects appear in his essay collections The Hot Gates and A Moving Target. He won the Booker Prize for his novel Rites of Passage in 1980, and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1983. He was knighted in 1988. He died at his home in the summer of 1993. The Double Tongue, a novel left in draft at his death, was published in June 1995.

Product Description


"'[Rites of Passage] is the work of a master at the full stretch of his age and wisdom.' The Times; 'Laden to the waterline with a rich cargo of practicalities and poetry, pain and hilarity, drama and exaltation.' Sunday Times" --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

From William Golding - winner of the Nobel Prize for literature and author of Lord of the Flies - To the Ends of the Earth collects all three novels in Golding's classic Sea Trilogy in one volume. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Kevin James on 15 Aug. 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Rites of Passage", the first of this trilogy, is a stunning stand-alone book. That this compelling story unfolds via an unreliable narrator's enthusiastic and erratic journal is the author's masterstroke, an extended literary feat brilliantly executed.

Edmund Talbot is priviledged by class and education, and yet utterly hidebound socially. His arrogant sense of superiority leads him to flout ship's rules immediately and to get in the way at every stage of the voyage. It is a deft balancing act to let us laugh at his clumsiness, hypocrisy and snobbishness, yet still retain some sympathetic feeling for him. Golding manages this. Edmund is young, after all. He will learn!

There is wonderful humour in Rites of Passage, (the seduction of Zenobia being a standout scene), and there is great pathos too, most obviously in the plight of poor Reverend Colley. This book is an English classic, no question.

Golding's admits in his excelllent introduction that the sequels ("Close Quarters" and "Fire Down Below") were not planned from the outset, but that he felt there was more to discover about Edmund and his co-travellers, so allowed his imagination to extend the full length of the voyage. How marvellous for us that he did so!

Read on their own, books 2 and 3 would possess less of the beautiful structural arch of the first (a fact cunningly acknowledged by our unreliable narrator midway through Close Quarters!) However, read right through, they gather momentum, transforming into a terrific, page-turning sea adventure. Gradually the pretense of an interrupted journal narrative gives way to a more suitable novelistic treatment. By the end, Edmund has emerged as quite the hero (though still somewhat accident-prone!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Meredith Byrne on 23 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback
Based on 'Lord of the Flies', I was expecting this series to be dark and violent. What I didn't expect was that it would be so funny (and not nearly as violent as I'd expected). I was somewhat disappointed at the end of the first book, which won the Booker Prize, having expected something really horrible to happen (but that says more about our present society and the graphic violence we see on TV these days).

However, by the time I was well into the second book, I had realised that it was more of a comedy, as well as being a comment on the English class system. By the third book, I couldn't put it down and didn't want it to end.

The ending was a bit soft for my taste, but I absolutely loved the main character, Edmund Talbot (and having recently learned that he was played in the BBC's version by Benedict Cumberbatch, I love him even more!).

The three books describe a voyage to Australia on a ship that is literally falling apart. Edmund is a young aristocrat who initially sees the crew as jolly tars there to serve him, and barely registers the poor emigrants in the other part of the ship. He thinks that because he himself receives fine food and brandy, the sailors have no cause for complaint.

Gradually, however, he begins to change his attitude and see his fellow voyagers as people, particularly when disaster threatens them all, and the food begins to run out, even for the rich passengers.

Now that I've been encouraged to read the rest of William Golding's novels, I can see where he was going with 'To the Ends of the Earth'. I'm definitely going to read it again very soon!
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 17 Dec. 2000
Format: Hardcover
William Golding himself wrote an introduction for this new combined edition of his trilogy. In it he basically justified the revisions he made etc. He realised in editing the book again that he had failed to name the ship upon which the majority of the trilogy takes place. He left this uncorrected, but his hope was that the ship's name would be surmised as being nothing more than "The Good Read."
He is not disappointed in his hope, as I found his trilogy absolutely absorbing and engaging. Honestly I place it as some of the most enjoyable prose I've ever read. I'm actually considering doing a research project on him for my degree, is the extent to which this book has impressed me.
It's just refreshing hearing Golding write through such a thoroughly happy and upbeat narrator. It infuses the book with a cheerfulness despite Golding's perrenial themes of social class and human nature.
Certainly this trilogy must be seen as central in Golding's work, not just for its sheer size, but also since it most clearly manifests Golding's frequent allusions to existence as a sea journey. In this case we see these existences being played out literally on a journey to the ends of the earth, from England to the Antipodes.
The journey presented is undeniably fraught, and for a work of serious fiction, remarkably exciting at a vary basic level. Alongside it's obvious literary credentials, it stands on its own as simply and enjoyable book.
What's the essence of this journey that's presented? In my opinion, nothing more or less than the journey through a "Good Read."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Didier TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 14 Mar. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Each of the constituent parts of this magnificent trilogy (Rites of Passage (Sea Trilogy), Close Quarters (Sea Trilogy) and Fire Down Below (Sea Trilogy) I have discussed in more detail under their respective titles, suffice it here to say that taken together they form a splendid book which I immensely enjoyed. It ranges from the farcical to the tragical, boasts a series of truly unforgettable characters, and is written in some of the most beautiful and colourful English I have ever had the pleasure (one is even tempted to say 'privilege') to read. Even at 761 pages, I wish this were twice the length it is.
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