temptation island 

It’s a heady mixture when you put the magnificent nubile wahines of Tahiti with brash, inexperienced young men fresh from England. No matter that these young men were Christian missionaries. It was the year 1797 and the strangely named ship, Duff, carried thirty volunteers from the London Missionary Society to the exotic and little-known South Seas. Eighteen of them stayed on Tahiti and the balance sailed off to Tonga.  

Most of the missionaries who elected to stay in Tahiti were married and accompanied by their wives and children. Two of the originals were unattached single men. The coming of the missionaries to the area is a well-documented fact. What happened to them in this novel is fiction; although with the free and easy life in Tahiti in those years it might well have happened anyway.

The restrictions imposed by the Christian way of life collide head-on with the sybaritic lifestyle of the well-endowed and willing Polynesian wahines. A great adventure of a time not so long ago.

In Store Price: $27.95 
Online Price:   $26.95

ISBN: 978-1-921574-99-3   
Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 275
Genre: Fiction
Cover: Clive Dalkins

By the same author

Nobody Reads the Credits
Voyage of the Britannica
Adventures in Java… and other Places


Author: Gordon Carr
Publisher: Zeus Publications
Date Published: 2010
Language: English



 Author’s Note

 It is very difficult to write a comprehensive story set in another time frame and in two or more languages where each character has only a limited knowledge of the other’s tongue without being anachronistic. To make some kind of balance I have included a few Polynesian words and phrases which are explained as the narrative proceeds and the English is mostly modern (with some exceptions), rather than that spoken by the different social classes of the early eighteenth century. Anyway, it is said that the language of love is universal and the islands of Tahiti were known as the Islands of Love, so, in many situations words were not needed. Place names have changed over the years, such as Tahiti known earlier as Otaheiti and Fiji as Feejee. I have mainly used the present versions to suit as the story progresses. The medical procedure described, when the brother of a chief is taken from the island of Hiva Oa to Tahiti for an operation, is not an anachorism. I believe that rather crude and painful method has been used in the historical past. The rise of Pacific Island kingdoms in Tahiti (Pomare) and Hawaii (Kahameamea) also happened in the time frame of our story as did the civil wars in Tonga and Hawaii. These were just some of the challenges that Christian missionaries had to face in those turbulent times.

 The Wahines



louds gathered over the peaks that stood sentinel over the flat  land and beaches that circled the island of Tahiti. In time they formed tiny raindrops which coalesced into bigger drops that fell from peak to outcrop forming little waterfalls that ran into other streams tumbling down the mountainside and finally into a natural rock basin at the base. In this natural pool bathed a bevy of Tahitian maidens. Diving, swimming and frolicking in the clear water, sleek as seals, they played, laughed and gossiped. They were naked as had been their mothers and grandmothers in the same pool before them in all the past years. The only hair on their bodies was on their heads, long, dark tresses that hung to their trim waists. Bodily hair was abhorrent to Tahitians, both men and women, and was removed as soon as it appeared by plucking or shaving with the edge of a seashell ground razor-sharp.

‘What do you think, Tania?’ one of the bathers called to her friend. ‘Do you think any more of those tall ships will come again soon? It has been a while since the last one was here with those white men. They have no women. They never have enough of what a woman can give them, so I’m told, although I have never made love with one myself, because some have brought sickness.’

‘Yes, Rani, neither have I, but we have missed out on all the presents they bring. We do not know where they come from or where they go. I do not know why they do not bring their own women with them. Perhaps they do not have any. Maybe their women have all been stolen by others and that is why they are so hungry for our embraces.’

Others joined in the conversation with some saying they thought the visitors were some kind of spirits and didn’t need women to procreate. 

‘I have heard that some earlier tall ships brought death from strange firesticks. Now, though they do not do us any harm,’ said Ani, ‘I think Tiki Moana Heiata watches over us as do the spirits of our ancestors and keeps us safe.’

Overhead and darting from branch to branch on the trees that grew close to the pool were coloured birds of many varieties: petrels, terns, plovers and herons. In all, it was a scene of quiet peace and tranquillity, but this was about to change.

The frolicking naked wahines didn’t know it but a ship named the Duff was on its way from England with members of the London Missionary Society among its passengers. They were coming to spread the Good Word and save the natives from their heathen ways. Most of the missionaries had been trained in some kind of handicraft or trade, the better it was thought to teach the practical advantages of European civilisation. This, it was hoped, would help in the embracing of Christianity.

The Missionaries (part sample)



mong the passengers was a young man, eager to spread the    word and do his part in the greatest of all jobs, the saving of         souls. He looked forward to his task with eager anticipation. Not for him and his brothers and sisters of the faith, the shipboard entertainments of dancing, partying and laying wagers on how far the ship sailed on a given day or any of the frivolities the other passengers indulged in during the long days and nights of the voyage. No, the study of the Bible, the Commandments, the lives of the saints and their writings consumed their daylight hours.

The young man’s name was Jacob Smith and he had first heard of the London Missionary Society and their good works at his local church in a less than salubrious suburb in the east end of London. It was a rainy night that Sunday when he sang lustily at evensong. Cold rain splashed against the stained glass windows and ran streaming down the usual high-pitched roof that characterised the Anglican churches. At least he felt warm and at one with the congregation that evening as he joined in the singing of hymns. It was later when he listened to Reverend Samuel Snedden that he felt so uplifted he was sure the spirit of the Lord was moving in him.

‘Do you know,’ thundered Reverend Snedden, ‘that much of the world is consumed by sin? People are sinning in their everyday lives and they do not even know it. In Africa, in India, in the East and West Indies, in the faraway Pacific islands, these poor lost souls have no idea, no idea at all that they are doing the wrong thing in the sight of God. Many worship stone idols instead of the one true God and go about unclothed. It is up to us, as true believers, to set them on the right path. Just ordinary people like you and I can do it.’

He paused and looked significantly at his rapt audience. His voice became louder.

‘Tonight, I am looking for volunteers. Christians who, after some missionary training, can go out in the field and do their part in this wondrous crusade as soldiers of the cross. People who can put aside their worldly life here in England and have the courage to leave the green fields and cities and make a contribution on behalf of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are looking for people with some practical skills such as carpentry and suchlike who can bring useful training to native folk in those savage and faraway lands. We – er – for practical reasons prefer married couples.

Young 21-year-old Jacob Smith listened in wonder. He was sure he felt the spirit of the Lord telling him to gird his loins and take the good fight to the heathen. To go to a country far away and do something worthwhile with his life. He would do it. He would volunteer. He had some skill in carpentry. He would talk to Reverend Snedden about it as soon as the service ended. He wasn’t married of course and wondered why that station in life was thought to be necessary. He hoped that he could serve just as well as a single man.

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