Arrow-right Camera
News >  Features

Book Notes: Spokane writers buoyed by ship discovery

Perhaps you read last week about the discovery of one of two British ships that disappeared in the 1840s while searching for the fabled Northwest Passage.

It was a significant find for at least two Spokane writers – one of whom is a relative of the expedition’s leader, Rear Adm. John Franklin, the other who has a new book of historical fiction that touches on Franklin’s early years.

In his 2012 novel “Inukshuk” (Bellevue Literary Press, $14.95) Gregory Spatz centered a modern-day father and son story around the ill-fated Franklin expedition. The story had personal meaning for Spatz as well, as his great-grandmother was Franklin’s niece.

In an email this week, Spatz described the news as “kind of huge, personally charged and fascinating.”

According to history, the Franklin expedition included two ships, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror. They set sail in 1845 to search for a northern route from the Atlantic to the Pacific via the Arctic. It’s believed the ships became locked in the ice in 1848. The crews supposedly abandoned the ships, and were never heard from again.

Canadian officials said last week they’ve confirmed the sunken ship found near King William Island, about 1,200 miles northwest of Toronto, is one of Franklin’s. They just don’t know yet which one.

Meanwhile, Beth Camp’s second book in her McDonnell Clan series, “Years of Stone,” envisions her heroine, Deidre Scott, encountering Franklin and his wife in Van Dieman’s Land, which is present day Tasmania.

The self-published “Years of Stone” ($14.99) was a quarterfinalist in Amazon’s 2014 Breakthrough Novel Award.

Camp will read from her book at Auntie’s Bookstore, 402 W. Main Ave., at 7 p.m. Sept. 23. Admission is free.