Graves of Ice: The Lost Franklin Expedition is the ninth book in Scholastic Canada'sI Am Canada, a series of fictional diaries. It was first published in January 2014 and later translated into French. The book was written by John Wilson, his second for the series.
"For the real George William Chambers and his 128 lost comrades."
"Research for this novel was generously supported by a grant from the Access Copyright Foundation."
"The blizzard raged for a full six days, while temperatures fell so far that the mercury in the thermometers solidified and exposed flesh froze in minutes. Ice crystals, blown in the teeth of a ferocious gale like a shot from a gun, cut frozen skin to shreds. Snow reduced visibility to less than an arm's length and built up on the windward side of the Erebus's hull. The gale snapped Terror's foremast like a matchstick. ⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻ George Chambers volunteers to join Sir John Franklin's expedition in search of the elusive Northwest Passage. But as ice binds both Erebus and Terror in a frozen landscape, the explorers' search for the fabled passage deteriorates to a grim determination to avoid death by starvation or freezing. Soon only George and one other sailor remain alive..."
"Le blizzard a soufflé pendant six longs jours, et la température est descendue si bas que le mercure s'est solidifié dans les thermomèmetres. La moindre partie du corps exposée au vent gelait en quelques minutes. Des cristaux de glace, portés par des rafales d'une force inouïe, nous déchiraient la peau comme l'auraient fait les dents d'un animal féroce. Souvent, la neige réduisait tant la visibilité qu'on ne voyait plus le bout de nos pieds et elle s'était entassée contre le côté au vent de l'Erebus. La force du vent avait brisé en deux le mât de misaine du Terror, comme une vulgaire allumette. ⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻ George Chambers se porte volontaire pour participer à l'expédition de sir John Franklin, en quéte du légendaire passage du Nord-Ouest. Mais les deux vaisseaux, l'Eregus et le Terror, se retrouvent prisonniers des glaces. L'enthousiasme de l'équipage fait alors place à la détresse, et une lutte éperdue contre la faim et le froid commence. George et un officier sont les derniers survivants.
Les tombes de glace French edition (September 2014)
"The publisher wishes to thank Janice Weaver for her detailed checking of the facts, and Dr. Russell Potter, editor of Arctic Book Review, for sharing his vast expertise about the Franklin expedition."
"A small but dedicated cadre of Franklin enthusiasts have contributed, sometimes without knowing it, to both the historical accuracy and my imaginative fictionalization in Graves of Ice.
Russell Potter probably has as broad a knowledge and understanding of Franklin's expedition and its cultural and historical setting as anyone alive. His blog and our e-mailed conversations have been a great help in crafting my tale, as were his comments as historical consultant on the finished document.
William Battersby has researched James Fitzjames's early life and uncovered his true parentage. One afternoon, we sat outside the inn where Sir John and Lady Jane stayed, and speculated which window she had looked out of as her husband sailed in to history.
Tom Gross has visited and studied King William Island every summer since the early 1990s, and has probably traversed as much of that land as any European since Franklin's men. Conversations with Tom, as well as his photographs — some of which he generously allowed me to reproduce here — gave me a sense of why King William Island is not a place you would want to spend a couple of winters.
Tom Swailes, whose great-great-grandmother was George's younger sister, Ellen, kindly gave me permission to use his family research in building George's background.
Dr. Owen Beattie brought Torrington, Hartnell and Braine back to the light of day and allowed us to look on the actual faces of three of Franklin's men.
David Woodman immersed himself in the Inuit testimony collected by Charles Francis Hall and opened up many avenues of imagination.
Relics from Franklin and his men are on display at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge and the Royal Scottish Museum in Edinburgh. The archives of these institutes also contain many letters and documents written by Franklin and his men.
Of course, this novel would not be near as good without the help of the team at Scholastic. In particular, my editor, Sandy Bogart Johnston, tidied up my bad writing habits, reminded me of the reader's perspective and nudged me back to the story when I became sidetracked into some obscure corner of Franklin lore. Janice Weaver did so much research as fact checker that she now qualifies to join the dedicated Franklin brotherhood.
Finally, thanks to my wife, Jenifer, who waited patiently while I visited George's Arctic, even when I was sitting at the dining-room table."