18 July 1816: Off the west coast of Africa, the captain of the Argus discovers a twenty metres long raft. What he sees on it makes his blood curdle: hollow eyes, parched lips, hair stiff with salt, burnt skin covered in wounds and blisters … The emaciated, naked figures are the remaining 15 individuals of the original 147 people. They survived for over a fortnight on the open sea after the sinking of the frigate Medusa. Franzobel takes what happened to the survivors and turns their experiences into a novel, to explore, without pulling punches, the core of the human condition. What is the price we pay for survival?