This is a biography of the British explorer Sir John Franklin. Theories - many wild - continue to abound on the fate of his final expedition, which set out for the Arctic in 1845 full of expectation but was never heard from again. This book examines Franklin's incident-filled and sometimes contentious career as an explorer, including theories old and new regarding the fate of his final Northwest Passage expedition, and the questions over his first Arctic overland expedition, where many men died of cold and starvation and Franklin himself was hours from death. But the author also looks at Franklin the sailor and the man. He was present at two of Nelson's most famous battles, Copenhagen and Trafalgar, and sailed with the great navigator Matthew Flinders on the first circumnavigation of Australia. The book covers his governorship of Tasmania, and gives an insight into the corruption and political chicanery which finally drove him out. Franklin was married to two exceptional women, and through surviving letters and diaries we get a glimpse of his relationship with the precocious but frail Eleanor Anne Porden, who died tragically young while he was away on an expedition.
He subsequently married the strong-willed Jane Griffin, who won great admiration in her attempts to pressure the Admiralty to step up their efforts to find her missing husband.