The Search for the Northwest Passage in the Age Of Reason.
Charting the 18th-century's perilous and often fatal attempts to discover a passage through the Arctic to the Pacific, 'Voyages Of Delusion' is an astounding work in the history of Arctic exploration.
Fuelled by the promise of fame and riches from a revitalised British trade and dominance of the North American continent, the search for the illusory passage captivated mariners steady and wild. Even Cook, the most pragmatic of explorers, was tempted by the "maritime philosopher's stone" apparently there to be prised from the ice and Eskimos of Hudson Bay.
In his study, Glyn Williams examines successive expeditions, from that of 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 others' lives at risk.
The book is based on extensive archival research and archaeological excavations which charge its contents, rich in political and personal intrigue. Written with the narrative brilliance and the mastery of form which characterises Williams's '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.