New answers to the Great Arctic Mystery

I was thrilled to see the headline on a yarn in the latest National Geographic magazine, electronic edition.

“Seeking to solve the Arctic’s biggest mystery,” it began, “they ended up trapped in ice at the top of the world.” That “they” refers to Sir John Franklin and his 128-man crew, of course, who “disappeared while searching for the Northwest Passage.”

The chosen angle was what gave me a frisson of excitement – the allusion to solving “the Arctic’s biggest mystery.” I shivered to read it because, with folks at Douglas & McIntyre, I had recently arrived at that same angle for our subtitle.

The journey was longer than you might think.

— The Royal Navy Man Who Couldn’t Listen.

–The Royal Navy Man Who Discovered Arctic Catastrophe.

— New Light on History’s Worst Arctic Disaster.

— New Answers to the Great Arctic Mystery.

If you look hard enough online, you can probably find references to all of these. But as you can see from the image to the northwest, that last was our final answer.

To see NatGeo go with the same mystery angle . . . vindication!

Their article, by Mark Synnott, is superb — although you do need a subscription to read it. I particularly enjoyed the focus on the searches led by Tom Gross, not least because, in Searching for Franklin, I devote a chapter to his work.




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