If you told me you were recommending a book that is basically a biography of a 19th century ship written by a 20th century comedy pioneer I would probably just say, “um, ok.” But had I known what you were talking about was Erebus: The Story of a Ship by Michael Palin, I would be much more demonstrative as it is excellent. Mr. Palin, of Monty Python fame, is a well-established travel writer and now has taken his considerable storytelling skills to relate the history of the HMS Erebus, its birth, epic voyages, tragic ending, and ultimate rediscovery, and it is a great read.

About Erebus: The Story of a Ship by Michael Palin:

“Michael Palin – Monty Python star and television globetrotter – brings the remarkable Erebus back to life, following it from its launch in 1826 to the epic voyages of discovery that led to glory in the Antarctic and to ultimate catastrophe in the Arctic. The ship was filled with fascinating people: the dashing and popular James Clark Ross, who charted much of the ‘Great Southern Barrier’; the troubled John Franklin, whose chequered career culminated in the Erebus’s final, disastrous expedition; and the eager Joseph Dalton Hooker, a brilliant naturalist – when he wasn’t shooting the local wildlife dead. Vividly recounting the experiences of the men who first set foot on Antarctica’s Victoria Land, and those who, just a few years later, froze to death one by one in the Arctic ice, beyond the reach of desperate rescue missions, Erebus is a wonderfully evocative account of a truly extraordinary adventure, brought to life by a master explorer and storyteller.”

Erebus: The Story of a Ship by Michael Palin is available from Amazon and other fine booksellers everywhere.