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Erebus: The Story of a Ship

Narrated by: Michael Palin
Length: 11 hrs and 5 mins

Non-member price: $39.50

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Publisher's Summary

Random House presents the audiobook edition of Erebus, written and read by Michael Palin. 

In September 2014 the wreck of a sailing vessel was discovered at the bottom of the sea in the frozen wastes of the Canadian Arctic. It was broken at the stern and covered in a woolly coat of underwater vegetation. Its whereabouts had been a mystery for over a century and a half. Its name was HMS Erebus.

Now Michael Palin - former Monty Python stalwart and much-loved television globetrotter - brings this extraordinary ship 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. He explores the intertwined careers of the men who shared its journeys: the dashing James Clark Ross who charted much of the 'Great Southern Barrier' and oversaw some of the earliest scientific experiments to be conducted there; and the troubled John Franklin, who at the age of 60 and after a chequered career, commanded the ship on its final, disastrous expedition. And he vividly recounts the experiences of the men who first stepped ashore on Antarctica's Victoria Land, and those who, just a few years later, froze to death one by one in the Arctic wastes as rescue missions desperately tried to reach them.

To help tell the story, he has travelled to various locations across the world - Tasmania, the Falklands, the Canadian Arctic - to search for local information, and to experience at first hand the terrain and the conditions that would have confronted the Erebus and her crew. 

This is a wonderfully evocative and epic account, written by a master explorer and storyteller. 

©2018 Michael Palin (P)2018 Random House Audiobooks

What listeners say about Erebus: The Story of a Ship

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Totally absorbing

If you are interested in Arctic, especially Franklin's ill fated quest to find the northwest passage and the great Antarctic sea voyages of James Ross this is the book for you. Using HMS Erebus as the central piece for both Mariners were at stages it's Captain, Palin narrates a gripping series of adventures and misadventures of those who sailed in this famous British Ship. The book ends (spoiler alert) with the discovery of Erebus as a sea wreck well over 160 years since her disappearance and tragic loss of life. Palin's narration is completely engaging and draws you into and along. A superb history related with chutzpah.

3 people found this helpful

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loved it

fascinating story of exploration. brings to life the origin of familiar names in the world of ice

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story about a ship

Enjoyed the book. Interesting to learn more about the Arctic and Antarctic adventurers. Would of been tough times.

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Riveting.

Palin at his best. Well researched and holds your interest all the way through. Highly recommended .

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Brilliant story

Couldn’t stop listening, amazing amount of history and information, also light hearted at times. Great loved it.

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An amazing listen

A great story told amazingly well. Palin articulated the excitement the pain and mystery. His distinctive voice and character adds to the story.

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History brought alive

A great story, or stories brought alive and told in a superb manner. It's just a pity that we can't show maps in an audio format.

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What a story!

Fantastic enthralling story read with enthusiasm. I could hardly wait to listen to the next chapter. The author's talents as a writer and as a reader shine forth like a Holy Grail.

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Great history story

I enjoyed this book as I like reviews of history. As a Canadian I’ve been always interested in stories of exploration based in the Arctic & Antartica . The author in this case is a great enthusiastic reader who helped make the story come alive

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So interesting!

Great voice loved the story Looking forward to the next book Didn’t realise Franklin did so much

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  • Heisenberg
  • 24-09-2018

Epic tale, written and narrated by Michael Palin.

An enjoyable and easy listen from the always reliable Michael Palin. To be honest, Palin was the sole reason I downloaded this, knowing nothing about the story of Erebus. However it turned out to be a fascinating tale in its own right - the biography of HMS Erebus, part of a doomed expedition to Northern Canada, searching for the Northwest Passage in the early 1840s. Palin does an excellent job in laying out the story, examining life aboard ship, and the lives of those involved.

17 people found this helpful

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  • colin monteith
  • 14-10-2018

Wonderfull! Wonderfull! Wonderfull!!!!

Absolutely brilliant!!! A beautifully written and narrated book. A real ripping yarn!! My home town, Stranraer, gets a wee mention as well. This is the best audio book I've heard. P.S. I loved the sea gulls at the start of the chapters.

14 people found this helpful

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  • David
  • 09-10-2018

Everyone should listen to this book.

Where do you start? Bill Bryson, no mean teller of a travelling tale, was bowled over by this book and exclaimed “Beyond terrific. I didn’t want it to end”. Listening to the author reading his own words added a whole new dimension for me. The downside of course is that illustrations in the printed version are not available to the listener. Perhaps that’s something Audible could work on, a way of digitising illustrations that could be downloaded for a fee to use in conjunction with listening to the relevant book. The sheer bravery of the participants and their discipline and skill in the events recounted is mind boggling but in a way so is the mindset of the British establishment that they had the answer to every problem. By treating the knowledge of Arctic survival perfected over millennia by the Inuit people with the greatest distain and ignoring their memories of meetings with survivors of the expedition, la great opportunity to save at least some of them was lost. My opinion of Charles Dickens has gone down a few notches after hearing what he had to say about the Inuit people. The arrogance that “we know best”reared its head again in 1911 when Amundsen was first to the pole using clothing and transport based on Inuit experience. Scott didn’t listen and paid the ultimate price, although unlike Franklin he didn’t take every member of the expedition down with him. Ironic that Amundsen was also the first man to navigate the North West Passage. I admire Amundsen greatly. After listening to the nicest man in England reading his own book, I think he does too

9 people found this helpful

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  • Josh
  • 03-04-2019

Phenomenal

Brilliant. Often parts were so amazing I had to stop to confirm it was all true. Brilliantly written and incredibly well researched. Michael Palin, take a bow.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Arthur O'Pod
  • 24-10-2018

Fascinating and engaging

I downloaded this recently and have already 'read' it twice, and tempted to go round a third time. The story is fascinating and is brought to life delightfully by Michael Palin. It is often a moot point as to whether it is best for an author to read their own work. In this case there is no doubt. Palin delivers the tale with the same easy charm, enthusiasm and wry amusement we know so well from his travel series. The pace is easy but never drags; he informs us about the technical aspects of the ships and their journeys but his focus is always mostly on the human aspects of the rigours of exploration, and the personalities involved. Naturally we miss the illustrations and maps which a traditional factual book would provide but this is more than made up for by having the author lead us through his own voyage of discovery of the tale of Erebus.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Jamie Wilkins
  • 17-10-2018

A compelling listen

I'm a huge Palin fan and his latest offering didn't disappoint. I'm ashamed to say that I'd never heard of HMS Erebus before but the way MP intertwines the historical narrative with his own experiences of the countries and destinations is very interesting. I feel with this book we had the best of both worlds: a smattering of Palin's travel log but the lion's share of the book taken up with the huge successes and ultimate demise of Erebus. The historical research and the bringing back to life of men 150 years dead was beautifully done. I now feel compelled to visit The Arctic and experience the beauty and desolation for myself.

2 people found this helpful

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  • david williams
  • 16-10-2018

story of a ship

Very good book well worth reading good story and Michael Palin makes the it great

2 people found this helpful

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  • Dublin reader
  • 12-10-2018

Brilliant

Michael Palin is a natural story teller with an ability to make you feel you're right there at such an amazing time in our history of discovery.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Francesca
  • 12-10-2018

Fascinating!

I found this book really interesting. Michael Palin’s narration was excellent. I would definitely recommend.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-10-2018

Story I never knew....

A gripping and fascinating story of the 'Erebus' and her sister ship Terror - being of a certain age my school days were filled with stories of Scott, Shackleton & Hilary but this is a story I had never heard. A desperate struggle to discover the North West Passage and the terrible conditions endured by the crew of both ships. A truly heroic story brilliantly told by Michael Palin who obviously has a passion for the subject. A brilliant read thoroughly recommended

2 people found this helpful