In 1757, when twelve-year-old Samuel Hearne joined the Royal Navy as an apprentice to the famous fighting captain Samuel Hood, he was embarking on a life of high adventure. This young sailor would become the first European to reach the Arctic coast of North America, the author of a classic work of exploration literature, and the man who inspired one of the greatest poems in the English language. Yet, for over two centuries, Hearne's place in history has been a subject of dispute. In ANCIENT MARINER, Ken McGoogan paints a vivid portrait of life in the eighteenth century, from London through to the farthest reaches of North America. After serving as a midshipman during the Seven Years War, Hearne joined the Hudson's Bay Company and was posted to the Arctic coast. From there he embarked on an overland quest for a fabled copper mine - also hoping to discover the Northwest Passage. In his epic account, A JOURNEY TO THE NORTHERN OCEAN, Hearne described this trek, marked by hardship, near-starvation and culture shock. Joining forces with the legendary Dene leader Matonabbee, and closely observing the people, wildlife and terrain as he went, Hearne travelled more than 3,500 miles, mostly on foot. His journey culminated in the infamous massacre at 'Bloody Falls' at the mouth of the Coppermine River - an event, McGoogan suggests, that changed him for ever.
In a fascinating piece of literary detective work, McGoogan also determines that, having returned to London to live out his final days, Hearne met Samuel Taylor Coleridge and inspired the poet to write his classic poem, THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER.
Paperback (17 Jun 2013)
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