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William Grill concludes his account of Ernest Shackleton’s expedition across Antarctica with famous words spoken by the Captain himself: “It is in our nature to explore, to reach out into the unknown. The only true failure would be to not explore at all.” In his debut picture-book, Grill offers readers the opportunity to explore the icy landscape faced by Shackleton and his men in what would become the last expedition to take place in the Heroic Age of Exploration.

Demonstrating his extensive research, Grill finds significance in each historical detail of Shackleton’s journey: from the type of wood used to build the ship Endurance to the thickness of the “giant jigsaw puzzle” of pack-ice lying over Weddell Sea. These passages of text are accompanied by long panels of illustration which turn an overwhelming catalogue of information into a rich visual history. The glossary at the end of the book, containing words such as ‘glaciers’, ‘precipices’ and ‘crevasses’, shows Grill’s fascination with the vocabulary of the Antarctic as well as its striking visual features.

In immersive double page spreads, the Endurance, “perhaps the strongest wooden vessel in the world,” becomes a toy-like figurine against vast panoramas of white and blue. Grill includes sketches of sixty-foot waves, treacherous pressure ridges and furious blizzards, yet his illustrations always remain sensitive to human experience and the incredible the beauty of the “mysterious south.”

This book is suitable for budding ecologists, historians and explorers of all ages. It is an inspiration for inquisitive minds and pursuers of adventure alike!

Written and illustrated by William Grill. 
Lydia Mihailovic, literary editor
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