Well, there may be many books that got away, but every once in a while, something turns up that reminds us that some almost-forgotten tales may still be told. Here’s a true story about John Cabot, the great explorer who sailed the seas less than 10 years after Columbus, that has all the makings of a fascinating novel.
Once upon a time, there was a historian at the University of London named Dr. Alwyn Roddock who had studied Cabot for decades and claimed that she had solved the centuries-old mystery of what happened to the intrepid explorer on his third and final voyage to the New World. For years, she promised a book revealing all and even wrote a proposal for it. Sadly, the book was never written and for some strange reason, Alwyn ordered her executor to destroy all her research: bags and bags of it.
Cut to 2007: After Alwyn’s records were destroyed, another researcher, Dr. Evan T. Jones, located her book proposal, which told an incredible tale: Alwyn claimed that Cabot didn’t vanish on his third voyage, but was actually the first European to see America. Independent research has confirmed many of Alwyn’s assertions.
Cut to 2110: A major historic document once owned by Alwyn shows up for sale on Amazon. The seller had bought Alwyn’s house and was selling off its library! After visiting Alwyn’s study, Evan contacts researchers in Europe who turn up the following entry: “John Cabot, of Venice, on 27 April  is debited for 10 pounds stirling, paid in cash….so that he could go and find the new land.” A second entry for 6 pounds, 13 shillings and 4 pence also showed up.
While poor Alwyn never wrote the book she planned, surely, someone else will. And when ever it is written, it’s a good bet that the tale of Alwyn’s untold tale will be a large part of the story. Who knows, maybe it will be a detective novel!