David Gelber

Island Getaway

The Other Exile: The Remarkable Story of Fernão Lopes, the Island of Saint Helena, and a Paradise Lost


Icon Books 339pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

Some 1,200 miles off the coast of Angola and 1,800 miles off the coast of Brazil lies the island of Saint Helena, an accretion of volcanic basalt protruding from the South Atlantic. It was to this ‘cursed rock’ that the British dispatched Napoleon in 1815 following his defeat at Waterloo, confident that, immured by the ocean swell, he would never again disturb the ‘repose of Europe’.

Napoleon was not the first European pariah to make Saint Helena his home. Three centuries before his arrival there, the island played host to another outcast, Fernão Lopes, the subject of A R Azzam’s new book. Whereas the deposed emperor survived a mere six years on his prison island, Lopes clocked up some three decades there, at a time when it had no permanent inhabitants and was little more than a watering stop for Portuguese ships performing the India run. 

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • ‘At every waking moment Barbara Hepworth was aware of herself as a woman paving the way in a man’s world’ From the… ,
    • The entertaining Howard Jacobson is in conversation with Prof John Mullan at the Queen’s Park Book Festival on Sund… ,
    • 'A modest and retiring man, Thompson spent his life describing apple varieties and recommending the best – Ribston… ,
    • 'Macfarlane is a poet with the instincts of a thriller writer, an autodidact in botany, mycology, geology and palae… ,
    • 'Some scholars attribute Shakespeare’s pre-eminence to four centuries of propaganda and not to the fact that Hamlet… ,
    • RT : We would appreciate any retweets ,
    • We've just stumbled on a gem from the LR archive. The emoluments page from May 1995, in which one reviewer asked to… ,