This April, our guest will be Victoria McKernan, author of Shackleton’s Stowaway.
In 1914, British explorer Ernest Shackleton and his crew of twenty-seven men set off on a tremendously ambitious expedition. Their goal was to be the first men to cross the Antarctic continent. Unfortunately, their ship, the Endurance, never reached land. Instead, it became trapped by pack ice in the Weddell Sea.
The ship was eventually crushed by the ice, forcing the men to travel by lifeboat and land on the barren and inhospitable Elephant Island. Since the island was too remote for passing ships, there was no hope of rescue. So Shackleton and five others returned to sea in a tiny boat and sailed 800 miles to South Georgia Island. There, they hoped to contact a whaling station and return for the others. When hurricane-strength winds forced them to land on the wrong side of South Georgia island, Shackleton and two others trekked twenty-five miles over mountains – 36 hours without stopping - to reach civilization. Eventually, Shackleton rescued the three men on South Georgia Island, and the twenty-two men stranded on Elephant Island. Despite incredible odds and unimaginable hardships, not a single man was lost.
The story of Ernest Shackleton is absolutely true, and author Victoria McKernan brings it to life through the eyes of Perce Blackborrow, a young sailor who actually stowed away on the Endurance in 1914. McKernan enhances the historical story with fiction and imagination to create an amazing and fast-paced tale, skillfully breathing life into the characters and settings. You feel you are right there with the men as they set sail, abandon ship, barely survive the journey in the lifeboats, and then wait in agony, and hope, to be rescued. Once finished, you feel as if you have adventured at the edge of the world and lived to tell the tale.