Unlike many authors covering the topic, Verne concentrates on the deposed captain of the Bounty, William Bligh. After mutineers forced Bligh into the Bounty's 23-foot launch on April 28, 1789, he led loyal crew members on a 6,710 kilometer journey to safety, reaching Timor 47 days later.
The original text was written by Gabriel Marcel (1843–1909), a geographer from the National Library of France. Jules Verne’s work was proofreading. Verne bought the rights to the text for 300 francs.