Very Magnetic North

Uncovering an epic failed expedition, and its hold on the Canadian psyche

For more than 150 years, explorers, ­scientists, archeologists and maritime scholars searched for the lost ships from Sir John Franklin’s last expedition. It was an exploration conundrum of the highest order, played out on the vast, icy and forbidding landscapes of the Arctic Islands in the Canadian North. Few outsiders ventured into this cold expanse, leaving the land and the sea ice for the Inuit who had inhabited the area for generations. But people kept looking for evidence of Franklin’s demise, searching archival collections for clues, revisiting the documentary records from the many searching expeditions sent north to find clues of Franklin’s fate, walking the coastlines and, later in the story, using advanced scientific equipment to scour the sea bed. The goal remained the same from the late 1840s on: to find HMS Erebus and HMS Terror.

Ice Ghosts: The Epic Hunt for the Lost Franklin...