Book Review – Erebus, The Story of a Ship

By Michael Palin

In our occasional series of looking outside the Worlds of Warhammer, I bring you news of a investigation into ships that went missing trying to find the Northern Passage – written by British National Treasure – Michael Palin.

Palin has made himself into a premier travel writer, but he also has links to the Geographical Society and it is these links that start him looking at the story of Arctic and Antarctic exploration by Britain in the 19th Century – in particular the crews and two small wooden ships – Erebus & Terror.

The story fairly wizzes along at a great pace with exploration, daring and danger throughout. The first of the two expeditions – to the Antarctic – is in most ways a success and as both ships return Palin draws on the historical records to tell the story of this adventure.

When he gets to the doomed Arctic expedition of course, there is less information and less story to tell, but Palin continues to tell it well, and brings us up to date with the searches for the ships since their disappearance on the search for the Northwest Passage.

There are times where the history is replaced with Palin’s anecdotes of travelling to the same places 150 years later, but there is no diminishing of the story for this, and – with Palin’s natural humour – adds to the understanding of the reader.

So, if you’re looking for a book outside the genre and fancy something a bit different you won’t go far wrong with this. I really loved it.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

— Declan

Check out the Woehammer Book Review Archive for more reviews!

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