I loved visiting Canada's arctic and I thoroughly enjoyed reading two of Pierre Berton's books about early exploration of the area. So when my friend Lee told me about a fictionalized version of Sir John Franklin's final, fatal expedition for the northwest passage I knew I had to check it out.
Simmons did a ton of research, citing Berton's "Prisoners of the North" as one of his main sources. Unfortunately the novel was published before the recent discoveries of the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror (2014 and 2016) but the lack of extra information on the final resting place of the ships does not diminish the story. Simmons also researched Inuit traditions and mythology to bring a supernatural element into the tale.
I enjoyed reading about the various ways the British were thoroughly unprepared for the realities of living in the far North and thoroughly unwilling to learn from the native peoples. I also enjoyed the descriptions of the ways in which Inuit thrive in the same environment. The supernatural element was strange, but grew on me towards the end of the book.
The book is long but I read it quickly, reveling in familiarity with the places, people, and situations I remembered from other readings. I'm not sure how good the book is objectively, but I enjoyed it quite a bit.