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MONDAY

“Comstock…slipped past the captain’s hammock, mounted the transom…to give himself some elevation above the sleeping man, raised the axe until it touched the carline at the top of the cabin, and swung viciously. The very first stroke came near to cutting the top of Captain Worth’s head off, but Samuel followed it with a second.” Indeed: The pirates of the Caribbean had nothing on seafaring psychopath Samuel Comstock. In Mutiny on the Globe: The Fatal Voyage of Samuel Comstock, author Thomas Farel Heffernan gets good and grisly detailing the murderous exploits of the 19th-century whaling industry’s notorious madman. When Comstock signed on to the Globe in 1822, his reputation on the wharves of Nantucket and New York was that of a harmless, impetuous punk looking for a little adventure. But the curious contents of Comstock’s sea chest told a much different story: weaponry, seeds, tools, and medical supplies. Two years into the doomed voyage, Comstock, with the help of a few roguish shipmates—and under the condemning eye of his helpless brother George—slaughtered his way through the ship’s high command. His goal was to steer the Globe to the South Seas, where he would establish—and rule—his own island kingdom. But the master villain never really got to be king, of course. After all, this was a Fatal Voyage in more ways than one, and Comstock’s ironic, ugly demise provides a killer final kick to Heffernan’s whale of a nasty tale. Heffernan sails into town at 7 p.m. Monday, May 20, at Olsson’s Books & Records, 1200 F St. NW. Free. (202) 347-3686. (Sean Daly)