The Search for the Northwest Passage in the Age Of Reason.
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 history of Arctic exploration.
Set in the heat of 18th century exploration fever, the book 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 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. This book is both a work of historical excellence and a compelling story of daring adventure, survival and endurance at sea.