Erebus: The Story of a Ship – Michael Palin

Erebus: The Story of a Ship - Michael Palin
Erebus: The Story of a Ship – Michael Palin

HMS Erebus is the British bomb ship that, alongside sister ship HMS Terror, took James Clark Ross and his crew on their three Antarctic Expeditions between 1839-1843, reaching further south than any other ship before, and the ill-fated Franklin Expedition in search of the North West Passage, which set sail for Greenland and the Arctic in 1845, never to be seen again.

The second part is inevitably more gripping than the first.

The wreck of the Erebus was found in 2014, that of Terror in 2016, and Michael Palin’s account starts with the discovery of the Erebus in  the shallow waters of Wilmot and Crampton Bay. Erebus is a leading character in this book alongside the Navy men, Establishment politicians and Empire men who led the scientific and commercial explorations, and expropriations, during the 19th Century.

(Although personally I could have done with out the regular refrain of “When I visited XYZ…”)

Author’s page: Erebus: The Story of a Ship – Michael Palin

The Burgess Boys – Elizabeth Strout

The Burgess Boys - Elizabeth Strout
The Burgess Boys – Elizabeth Strout

This took make a while to get into, but I am glad I persevered to the pay offs in the final section.

The Burgess Boys is the tale of three siblings from a small town in Maine – eldest son Jim, the successful New York white collar crime lawyer with a rich WASP wife, Helen; and twins Susan and Bob. Susan, a single mum whose husband has left her and awkward teen son Zach, and small town Maine, to move back to ancestral Sweden; Bob a NY lawyer like his elder brother but working at the other end of the profession, in the legal aid sector, long divorced from college girlfriend and wife, Pam.

When Zach tosses a pig’s head into a local mosque he sets of a chain of events that changes everyone’s lives.

Author page: The Burgess Boys – Elizabeth Strout