Download Ice Ghosts: The Epic Hunt for the Lost Franklin Expedition Audiobook

Ice Ghosts: The Epic Hunt for the Lost Franklin Expedition Audiobook, by Paul Watson Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Paul Watson Narrator: Malcolm Hillgartner Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2017 ISBN: 9781470811341
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Spanning nearly 200 years, Ice Ghosts is a fast-paced detective story about Western science, indigenous beliefs, and the irrepressible spirit of exploration and discovery. It weaves together an epic account of the legendary Franklin Expedition of 1845―whose two ships, the HMS Erebus and the HMS Terror, and their crew of 129 were lost to the Arctic ice―with the modern tale of the scientists, researchers, divers, and local Inuit behind the recent discoveries of the two ships, which made news around the world.

The journalist Paul Watson was on the icebreaker that led the expedition that discovered the HMS Erebus in 2014, and he broke the news of the discovery of the HMS Terror in 2016. In a masterful work of history and contemporary reporting, he tells the full story of the Franklin Expedition: Sir John Franklin and his crew setting off from England in search of the fabled Northwest Passage; the hazards they encountered and the reasons they were forced to abandon ship after getting stuck in the ice hundreds of miles from the nearest outpost of Western civilization; and the dozens of search expeditions over more than 160 years, which collectively have been called “the most extensive, expensive, perverse, and ill-starred … manhunt in history.”

All that searching turned up a legendary trail of sailors’ relics, a fabled note, a lifeboat with skeletons lying next to loaded rifles, and rumors of cannibalism—but no sign of the ships until, finally, the discoveries in our own time. As Watson reveals, the epic hunt for the lost Franklin Expedition found success only when searchers combined the latest marine science with faith in Inuit lore that had been passed down orally for generations.

Ice Ghosts is narrative nonfiction of the highest order, full of drama and rich in characters: Lady Jane Franklin, who almost single-handedly kept the search alive for decades; an Inuit historian who worked for decades gathering elders’ accounts; an American software billionaire who launched his own hunt; and underwater archaeologists honing their skills to help find the ships. Watson also shows how the hunt for the Franklin Expedition was connected to such technological advances as SCUBA gear and sonar technology, and how it ignited debates over how to preserve the relics discovered with the ships.

A modern adventure story that arcs back through history, Ice Ghosts tells the complete and incredible story of the Franklin Expedition―the greatest of Arctic mysteries―for the ages.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The notable originality of Ice Ghosts lies in the fact that it brings the story right up-to-date, covering not only the discovery of the Erebus in 2014 but also the discovery of the Terror, about forty miles to the north, in 2016…A great story…quick, enjoyable, and…gripping reading.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “[A] thrilling tale of science’s hunt to solve one of naval history’s greatest riddles…[Watson’s] intimate familiarity with key players and places gives the reader an insider’s view of the operations.”


  • “Intriguing…A keen, entertaining chronicle of the various attempts to locate a sensationally doomed expedition.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Watson’s meticulously researched tale finely weaves together the many voices and experiences of those who sought Franklin’s long-missing ships.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Riveting…An engrossing chronicle of a legendary doomed naval voyage and the nearly two-hundred-year effort to bring the Franklin expedition to a close.”


  • “Hillgartner provides a crisp and authoritative reading. He lures listeners into this danger-filled adventure and the obsessive search in a smoky baritone that matches the bleak landscape and outcome of this ill-fated voyage of discovery. Information from Inuit oral history figures prominently, and Hillgartner fluently pronounces Inuit names and phrases. His lively reading calls attention to the interesting personalities and historical details that should intrigue fans of true adventure stories."

    Booklist (audio review)

  • “Narrator Malcolm Hillgartner has a rich voice and a keen ability to evoke an atmosphere of endless winter, deprivation, and mystery. He also rolls through the Inuit names and places without hesitation …Paul Watson is also sympathetic to Franklin’s wife Jane’s famous intensity and grit, and Hillgartner faithfully renders her unusual viewpoint.”


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About the Author

Paul Watson is the author of Where War Lives and the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Headliner Award, the George Polk Award, and the Robert Capa Gold Medal.

About the Narrator

Malcolm Hillgartner is an accomplished actor, writer, and musician. Named an AudioFile Best Voice of 2013 and the recipient of several Earphones Awards, he has narrated over 175 audiobooks.