UNKNOWN SHORE: The Lost History of England's Arctic Colony

Robert Ruby, Author . Holt $26 (320p) ISBN 978-0-8050-5215-2

During the years 1576 to 1578, Queen Elizabeth I of England sent three expeditions under Martin Frobisher to find the fabled Northwest Passage that led to China. Ruby (Jericho), an editor with the Baltimore Sun, chronicles in lively prose an incredible saga of man against nature in the failed quest to place a colony in the far north. On the first expeditions, encouraged by assayists in England who were either incompetent or dishonest, former-pirate Frobisher believed he had found gold-bearing rock. Dreaming of fabulous wealth, he hoped the third expedition would establish a colony to mine gold. They failed badly (a few men were accidentally left behind when a sudden gale forced a hurried return to England), having brought back tons of useless rock and kidnapped a few Inuits. The story, buried in documents and technical archeological data, has remained unknown to most history buffs. Ruby's excellent popularized tale of Frobisher and his men draws on the 1860s expedition of American Charles Francis Hall (recounted in Bruce B. Henderson's Fatal North; see Forecasts, Jan. 1), who recorded oral histories from Inuit people about Frobisher, as well as on more recent archeological findings. The interweaving of these threads into a single narrative makes exciting reading and fills a gap in the early colonization efforts of the New World. Illus., with maps not seen by PW. (June 12)

Reviewed on: 05/28/2001
Release date: 06/01/2001
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-8050-5214-5
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4668-7341-4
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