“Erebus” is a story stranger than fiction.
Michael Palin is no slouch when it comes to seeing inhospitable parts of the world. So when I read that he had a book coming out about HMS Erebus, I was rather excited.
As we’re in Dundee, I’m used to seeing the magnificent RRS Discovery almost every day, and I’ve read many books about Captain Scott, Ernest Shackleton et al.
The Erebus is something else though. Along with her sister ship, HMS Terror, her final journey was to find, and ultimately sail, the Northwest Passage. It was to turn out to be an epic voyage for all the wrong reasons.
Before that, though, Michael Palin takes us back to the very beginning: when both ships and their crews made successful voyages, and were a source of national pride.
None of the crew would survive their final adventure, however, and evidence of cannibalism has been found as the poor souls tried to make their way over land when the ships were destroyed by ice.
Apart from the rather dark ending, the book really is one of determination and pride.
It is a great read. You get the feeling that Palin himself is regaling you with tales of the mighty seas!