Trapped in Terror Bay: Solving the Mystery of the Lost Franklin Expedition

Kids Can. May 2022. 160p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781525303456.
Gr 6 Up–In the spring of 1845, famed Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin commanded the British navy’s most ambitious expedition to date to discover the elusive and highly coveted Northwest Passage. Consisting of two heavily reinforced ships with a complement of over 120 men, the expedition was given the latest technologies that all but guaranteed its success. These included: coal-fired steam engines, iron-plated hulls, and enough canned food to ensure the men wouldn’t starve even if they were forced to winter for multiple years. However, in the end, all were lost; none of these advancements helped the ill-fated expedition and some would significantly contribute to its demise. Brouwer outlines what happened to the expedition using historical and modern contexts. Each of the 10 chapters, which he calls episodes, consists of three parts: the first is a historical summary told from the point of view of the second-in-command Francis Crozier. The second section is information from friends, family, and colleagues of the expedition and their attempts to find out what happened. The final part of each chapter is contemporary forensics and oral histories from local Inuit people regarding the expedition. The information presented is fascinating and the struggles of the crew are harrowing to read. However, the constant switching of points of view and frequent introduction of new individuals will test even patient readers.
VERDICT An engaging story would have benefited from a simpler format but nonetheless serves as a helpful purchase for those looking to fill gaps in their collection.

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