The life of Thomas Morton, writer and satirist, lawyer and social reformer, outspoken critic of the Puritans, and the first falconer in the United States. In the early 1600s, Thomas Morton sailed to the New World, founded the settlement of Merrymount and, unlike other Anglican colonists, introduced an unusual British activity to American soil: falconry.
This legacy is what sets fellow falconer Ben Crane on a journey to tell Morton's story, learning about his life by reconstructing it. Crane visits the rugged Dartmoor landscape where Morton learnt to fly birds of prey and flies goshawks on the planes of Massachusetts. He travels through New England towns looking for the courtrooms where Morton was tried and imprisoned and spends time with contemporary members of the Wampanoag Tribe.
As Crane traces his way through Morton's life, he realises there are profound lessons for the modern era. More than the biography of an iconoclast, this is a story about the power of the written word, the ongoing threat to traditional cultures, and our endless and ever-evolving relationship with the natural world.
Ben Crane is a falconer, writer and artist. He has travelled the globe researching and learning about birds of prey, and in 2018 published Blood Ties, a memoir of falconry and fatherhood. He currently lives deep in the Shropshire countryside with his hawk and two dogs.