BBC RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK
HMS Erebus was one of the great exploring ships, a veteran of groundbreaking expeditions to the ends of the Earth.
In 1848, it disappeared in the Arctic, its fate a mystery. In 2014, it was found.
This is its story.
'Beyond terrific. I didn't want it to end.' - Bill Bryson
Michael Palin - Monty Python star and television globetrotter - brings the remarkable Erebus back to life, following it from its launch in 1826 to the epic voyages of discovery that led to glory in the Antarctic and to ultimate catastrophe in the Arctic.
The ship was filled with fascinating people: the dashing and popular James Clark Ross, who charted much of the 'Great Southern Barrier'; the troubled John Franklin, whose chequered career culminated in the Erebus's final, disastrous expedition; and the eager Joseph Dalton Hooker, a brilliant naturalist - when he wasn't shooting the local wildlife dead.
Vividly recounting the experiences of the men who first set foot on Antarctica's Victoria Land, and those who, just a few years later, froze to death one by one in the Arctic ice, beyond the reach of desperate rescue missions, Erebus is a wonderfully evocative account of a truly extraordinary adventure, brought to life by a master explorer and storyteller.
'Thoroughly absorbs the reader. . . Carefully researched and well-crafted, it brings the story of a ship vividly to life.' - Sunday Times
'This is an incredible book. I couldn't put it down. The Erebus story is the Arctic epic we've all been waiting for.' - Nicholas Crane
'Palin is a superb stylist, low-key and conversational, who skillfully incorporates personal experience. He turns up obscure facts, reanimates essential moments, and never shies away from taking controversial positions. This beautifully produced volume - colour plates, outstanding maps - is a landmark achievement.' - Ken McGoogan, author of Fatal Passage
'I absolutely loved it: I had to read it at one sitting . . . Fascinating.' - Lorraine Kelly, ITV Lorraine
'Magisterial . . . Brings energy, wit and humanity to a story that has never ceased to tantalise people since the 1840s.' - The Times
Publication Date: 20-Sep-2018
Publisher: Penguin Random House