"Landfalls" has everything a good historical novel should have: basis in an actual event, remote places or cultures, and a narrative suitable for the time. Based on the actual French scientific and exploratory voyage in 1785, the voyage is lead by Monsieur Laperouse, a French officer who is in charge the Astrolabe along with his second in command, Monsieur de Langle, captain of the Boussole. Each chapter is told from a viewpoint of different individuals on the voyage or affected by it. deMonneron is an engineer on the voyage, assigned to gather the best navigational devices of the time. deLamanon has the longest official title: physicist, geologist, botanist, and meteorologist and his ego is a match for the title. Laperouse, the leader of the exploration, is more comfortable on the seas than at social events which he is expected to attend due to his position. The first major stop of the voyage is in Concepcion, Chile where high French culture meets new world high culture. Laperouse, strong and brave on the ocean, becomes almost weak in the knees when a beautiful young woman takes his arm. When the voyage reaches Alaska, the story is told from the viewpoint of a young native girl as she witnesses a tragic event which leaves 21 seamen dead. The unnamed speaker calls the sailors "Snow Men" thinking first that they are ghosts but soon realizing that they are real live men. Langle narrates the chapter of the same tragedy; two completely different viewpoints of the same event. Monsieur Lavaux, the voyage's surgeon narrates the chapter taking place on the North American coast where fog is heavy and Langle has been tasked with writing letters back to France explaining the deaths of the crew. Chapter seven is made up of letters sent from Monterey, where the ships dock in order to get supplies. Six letters tell the same story of the wife of the Mayor, the priests working with the Indians, and the effect the French visitors have on the Spanish ruling this area. Set in Macao, almost a year after departure, Monsieur Lamartiniere, another naturalist, disobey the ship's orders and spends time on land in order to write a monograph of the parasites found in Alaska which he later reads to a beautiful woman who is "available" for pleasure. Laperouse must deal with these two educated, yet childish scientists. Almost two years later, the ships reach a Russian outpost and de Lesseps, the Russian translator, leaves the crew in order to take official papers back to France. The story of Lesseps is set in Russia and tells of the difficult journey to St. Petersburg accompanied by a Russian guide, Golikoff. The final chapters tell of an encounter with natives on Maouna Island. The French have guns, but the natives manage to wound or kill them by throwing rocks. Langle is among those killed and Vaujuas is tasked with writing the report telling of the awful event. Glass beads were supposed to help establish friendly relations with the Indians. Botany Bay in New Holland is an island of resettled convicts. The ship's chaplain is mysteriously murdered and various characters tell what they know of that death. The Solomon Islands chapter relates the story of a white man who has been stranded on the island. Vo is the only man left on the island from the two ships that had come before. Now he is the husband of Alu and the father of a baby. The final chapter takes place in 1816 and is told by Laperouse's sister who wants to legally change the family's name due to the status Laperouse has gained since the loss of both ships. Finally, in 1929, relics are being displayed as items from Laperouse's lost voyage. Lesseps is the only one who actually returns to France from the voyage. Loved this book which brings the characters alive. It is the story of the known vs. the unknown, the new world vs. the old world, and many of the personal conflicts between characters and within their hearts.