In 1816, a fleet of ships left France to accept the British hand-over of the port of Saint-Louis in Senegal. Among them was the frigate Medusa. A month after it set sail, she shank miles off of Africa’s west coast, leaving the passengers to flee on lifeboats and a raft cobbled together from parts of the sinking ship. After a failed attempt by those in the lifeboats to tow the raft, it—and the more than 150 people aboard—were abandoned. This is the horrific tale, filled with suicide, murder, and cannibalism, of those left behind.