CAP­TAIN’S BOOK­SHELF

Passage Maker - - @Rest - Ice Ghosts by Paul Wat­son

HMS Ere­bus and HMS Ter­ror were ships long lost to the frigid arc­tic. Ed­i­tor-in-Chief,

Jonathan Cooper, has rec­om­men­da­tions for two new books about the ill-fated 19th cen­tury Franklin Ex­pe­di­tion.

In 1845, Cap­tain John Franklin de­parted on his fourth ex­pe­di­tion to the Arc­tic in an at­tempt to find a route through the North­west Pas­sage. It went hor­ri­bly wrong. All 129 crew mem­bers were lost when both ships, HMS Ere­bus and HMS Ter­ror, were caught in ice and sunk not long af­ter de­part­ing Eng­land and ar­riv­ing in the Cana­dian Arc­tic. But the ships’ fi­nal rest­ing place had baf­fled sci­en­tists and his­to­ri­ans for 169 years. The mys­tery ended abruptly in 2014 when news broke that a Parks Canada re­search ves­sel had lo­cated Ere­bus off King Wil­liam Is­land.

The grue­some tales of at­tempted sur­vival on the two ships were broad­cast by the au­topsy find­ings of an­thro­pol­o­gist Owen Beat­tie, who ex­humed two bod­ies from a grave site in the early 1980s, find­ing ev­i­dence of toxic lead poi­son­ing as well as sur­vival­can­ni­bal­ism. Not sur­pris­ingly the 2014 find, along with the dis­cov­ery soon there­after of a mostly in­tact (and aptly named) HMS Ter­ror, led to a num­ber of books on the sub­ject. Two re­cent re­leases in­clude Ice Ghosts by Paul Wat­son (re­leased in 2017) and Frozen in Time: The Fate of the Franklin Ex­pe­di­tion by Owen Beat­tie and John Geiger (re-re­leased in 2017). Both books deal with this spell­bind­ing and grue­some story of dar­ing ex­plo­ration, catas­tro­phe, and at­tempts to sur­vive against all odds. And both are worth pick­ing up.

n Frozen in Time: The Fate of the Franklin Ex­pe­di­tion by Owen Beat­tie and John Geiger.

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