An alternative version of Columbus' voyage of discovery, in which getting to the West Indies was just the start of his adventures.
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'The Sea and the Stars' is not about Columbus' voyage as the history books tell it, but about how it might have taken shape very differently. To begin with, having found no backers anywhere else ( the Spanish court included ), Columbus, a Genoese, is forced to turn to his people's arch-rivals, the Venetians, in a lst throw of the dice. While he is in Venice, Columbus chances to meet a young Polish student named Nicholas Copernicus, who is on the run from the Inquisition on account of his heretical assertion that the Earth revolves around the Sun. Columbus recruits Copernicus as his navigator, and together they set sail on a voyage that will take them to the Caribbean, then across the Isthmus of Panama and on into the vastness of the Pacific Ocean.
The Portuguese ships were almost bow on to the 'Santa Clara', and the 'Santa Croce' astern of her, which was still out of range. They were narrow targets, but turning and coming broadside on. Cannon balls ripped through the mainsail of the lead Portuguese vessel, undoubtedly da Gama's flagship, and hammered two holes into her hull.
And then came the Portuguese reply. The boom, the smoke, and then the crash of splintering timbers and the bone-jarring screams of men in agony, as two cannon balls smashed into the deck of the 'Santa Clara'.