"Intriguing [and] enjoyable." —Ian McGuire, New York Times Book Review
Ice Ghosts weaves together the epic story of the lost Franklin Expedition of 1845—whose two ships, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, and their crew of 129 were lost to the Arctic ice—with the modern tale of the scientists, divers, and local Inuit behind the recent incredible discoveries of the wrecks. Paul Watson, a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who was on the icebreaker that led one of the discovery expeditions, tells a fast-paced historical adventure story and reveals how a combination of faith in Inuit knowledge and the latest science yielded a discovery for the ages.
Watson (Where War Lives), a Pulitzer Prize winning Canadian photojournalist, recounts a failed 19th-century attempt to find the fabled Northwest Passage and the 21st-century search that succeeded in locating vessels that had been missing for 168 years. On May 19, 1845, John Franklin began his fourth and final journey in search of the Northwest Passage. Despite his soiled reputation and advancing age, Franklin was made commander of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror and their combined crew of 128 men. Fitted with the latest technology, Erebus and Terror set sail from England to the Arctic Ocean. During the winter of 1845 1846, three men died, the ships were twice trapped in sea ice, and Franklin's health declined precipitously. Franklin died on June 11, 1847, and Watson reveals that during the subsequent winter the ships were once again trapped, forcing the remaining crew to relinquish the ships in search of safety. Numerous attempts were made to find the ships as well as the burial sites of crew and commander. Through the diligence of self-trained Inuit historian Louie Kamookak and an array of researchers, scientists, and divers, the sunken ships were found in pristine condition. Watson's meticulously researched tale finely weaves together the many voices and experiences of those who sought Franklin's long-missing ships.