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Julian Sancton

Madhouse at the End of the World

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The harrowing, survival story of an early polar expedition that went terribly wrong, with the ship frozen in ice and the crew trapped inside for the entire sunless, Antarctic winter.

August 1897: The Belgica set sail, eager to become the first scientific expedition to reach the white wilderness of the South Pole. But the ship soon became stuck fast in the ice of the Bellinghausen sea, condemning the ship's crew to overwintering in Antarctica. In the darkness their minds are ravaged by the sound of dozens of rats teeming in the hold.

In this epic tale, Julian Sancton unfolds a story of adventure gone horribly awry. As the crew teetered on the brink, the Captain increasingly relied on two young officers. Dr. Frederick Cook, the wild American whose later infamy would overshadow his brilliance  and the ship's first mate, Roald Amundsen who later raced Captain Scott to the South Pole. Cook and Amundsen would plan a last-ditch, desperate escape from the ice that might doom them to a terrible fate in the frozen ocean.

Drawing on first-hand crew diaries and journals, and exclusive access to the ship's logbook, the result is equal parts maritime thriller and gothic horror. 


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