Williams's book charts the 18th-century's perilous and often fatal attempts to discover a passage through the Arctic to the Pacific. An astounding work of the history of arctic exploration. Glyn Williams's Prize of All the Oceans was reviewed by Patrick O'Brian: 'A remarkably erudite and deeply informed book'. And by Andrew Roberts as 'Staggeringly good! the best book I've read in ages.' The Quest for the North-West Passage should be as big a best-seller as Fergus Fleming's Barrow's Boys--which was about the quest for the north-west passage in the 19th century. Williams's book is set in the heat of 18th century exploration fever and charts the many perilous expeditions undertaken to find the 'maritime philosopher's stone' from amongst the ice and eskimos of Hudson Bay.
Fuelled by the promise of fame and riches from revitalised British trade and dominance of the North American continent, the search for this illusory passage even captivated Cook--the most pragmatic of explorers. Williams examines successive expeditions from James Knight to George Vancouver. The secretive Hudson's Bay Company plays a supporting role throughout, as does Sir Arthur Dobbs whose political ambition--and obsessive pursuit of the illusory passage--relied heavily on exploitative cunning, personal greed and putting other's lives at risk. The book is based on extensive archival research and archaeological excavations which fuel the content of the book, rich in political and personal intrigue. Written with the narrative brilliance and the mastery of form which characterises The Prize of all the Oceans, this book promises to be both a work of historical excellence and a compelling story of daring adventure, survival and endurance at sea.
Author: Glyn Williams
Title: Voyages of Delusion: The Search for the North West Passage in the Age of Reason
First Published by: Harper Collins
Date: 18 March 2002