The true story of the remarkable John Rae - Arctic traveller and Hudson's Bay Company doctor - FATAL PASSAGE is a tale of imperial ambition and high adventure. In 1854 Rae solved the two great Arctic mysteries: the fate of the doomed Franklin expedition and the location of the last navigable link in the Northwest Passage. But Rae was to be denied the recognition he so richly deserved. On returning to London, he faced a campaign of denial and vilification led by two of the most powerful people in Victorian England: Lady Jane Franklin, the widow of the lost Sir John, and Charles Dickens, the most influential writer of the age. A remarkable story of courage and determination, FATAL PASSAGE is Ken McGoogan's passionate redemption of Rae's rightful place in history. In this richly documented and illustrated work, McGoogan captures the essence of one man's indomitable spirit.
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(198mm x 127mm x 21mm)
Bantam Books (Transworld Publishers a division of the Random House Group)
Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
Long before the fictional Indiana Jones, there existed men like John Rae. This Scotsman endured extremes lesser men would never countenance and experienced adventures that belonged to the world of fiction in his quest to find the elusive North West Passage. Brought up on the Orkney Islands, he always wanted to travel and after qualifying as a doctor he signed up with the Hudson Bay Company. Part of the charter that had created the company obliged them to seek the elusive North West Passage, and Rae set off on an expedition into the Arctic. Although he did not succeed as he hoped, he managed to prove that the landmass Boothie Felix was in fact a peninsula, and after returning to England he set off again to discover the fate of a previous expedition led by Sir John Franklin. But when he provided irrefutable evidence of Franklin's death, coupled with Inuit tales that Franklin and his men had resorted to cannibalism in their last days, the explorer's widow Lady Franklin refused to accept his findings and began a campaign against Rae which was supported by luminaries including Charles Dickens. The whole affair left Rae an embittered man, and after 23 years with the Hudson Bay Company he resigned his position and started leading his own expeditions. Eventually he discovered a way through the North West Passage, but his reputation never recovered from Lady Franklin's vilification and he was the only important Victorian explorer not to receive a knighthood. This is a fascinating story, both a long-overdue reassessment of an able and courageous man and a revealing exploration of a great Victorian scandal. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Ken McGoogan
KEN McGOOGAN is a Canadian writer - historian, biographer, novelist and journalist. He is the author of the internationally acclaimed bestseller Fatal Passage about Scottish Arctic adventurer John Rae, which won the Writers' Trust of Canada Drainie-Taylor Biography Prize, the Canadian Authors' Association History Award and the Grant MacEwan Award. It also won a US Christopher Award as a work of artistic excellence that 'affirms the highest values of the human spirit'. The author lives with his family in Toronto, Canada.