After Royal Navy captain Sir John Franklin disappeared in the Arctic in 1846 while seeking the Northwest Passage, the search for his two ships, Erebus and Terror, and survivors of his expedition became one of the most exhaustive quests of the 19th century. Despite tantalizing clues, the ships were never found, and the fate of Franklin’s expedition passed into legend as one of the North’s great and enduring mysteries.
Anthony Dalton explores the eventful and fascinating life of this complex and intelligent man, beginning with his early sea voyages and arduous overland explorations in the Arctic. After years in Malta and Tasmania, Franklin realized his dream of returning to the Far North; it would be his last expedition. Drawing from evidence found by 19th-century Arctic explorers following in Franklin’s footsteps and investigations by 20th-century historians and archaeologists, Dalton retraces the route of the lost ships and recounts the sad tale of Franklin, his officers and men in their final agonizing months.