"As thrilling as any tale from the heroic age of exploration. ... Bound’s account is a triumph. The storytelling is piano-wire taut, the writing saturated with polar moodiness." ― Sunday Times
The inside story of how the Endurance, Ernest Shackleton's legendary lost ship, was found in the most hostile sea on Earth, told by the expedition's Director of Exploration.
On November 21, 1914, after sailing more than ten thousand miles from Norway to the Antarctic Ocean, the Endurance finally succumbed to the surrounding ice. Ernest Shackleton and his crew had navigated the 144-foot, three-masted wooden vessel to Antarctica to become the first to cross the barren continent, but early season pack ice trapped them in place offshore. They watched in silence as the ship’s stern rose twenty feet in the air and disappeared into the frigid sea, then spent six harrowing months marooned on the ice in its wake. Seal meat was their only sustenance as Shackleton’s expedition to push the limits of human strength took a new form: one of survival against the odds.
As this legendary story entered the annals of polar exploration, it inspired a new global race to find the wrecked Endurance, by all accounts “the world’s most unreachable shipwreck.” Several missions failed, thwarted, as Shackleton was, by the unpredictable Weddell Sea. Finally, a century to the day after Shackleton’s death, renowned marine archeologist Mensun Bound and an elite team of explorers discovered the lost shipwreck. Nearly ten thousand feet below the ice lay a remarkably preserved Endurance, its name still emblazoned on the ship’s stern.
The Ship Beneath the Ice chronicles two dramatic expeditions to what Shackleton called “the most hostile sea on Earth.” Bound experienced failure and despair in his attempts to locate the wreck, and, like Shackleton before him, very nearly found his vessel frozen in ice.
Complete with captivating photos from the 1914 expedition and of the wreck as Bound and his team found it, this inspiring modern-day adventure narrative captures the intrepid spirit that joins two mariners across the centuries—both of whom accomplished the impossible.
Mensun Bound was Director of Exploration on the 2019 and 2022 expeditions to locate Shackleton’s Endurance. Previously Triton Fellow in Maritime Archaeology at St. Peter’s College, Oxford University, he is a leading marine archeologist who has discovered many of the world’s most famous shipwrecks.
“An engaging account…Bound narrates it thrillingly, giving the reader the sense of much more than the catch of a lifetime… If Mr. Bound and his colleagues rekindle interest in Shackleton’s expedition a century ago they will have done a service. This book is a good place to start.” — Wall Street Journal
"Mensun Bound, tells their story, and that of a follow-up mission two years later, with passion and flair...By its end, The Ship Beneath the Ice has amply justified those superlatives...[told in] evocative prose...all hail to him and his comrades as the Endurance’s successful suitors." — Washington Post
"Bound’s passion for what he’s doing and his love for the most unexplored geography on Earth is evident on every page. His writing blends the required scientific explanations with what touches on poetry...It’s captivating stuff, even for readers who will never see an iceberg." — Associated Press
"Utterly captivating. ... In his engrossing account, Bound, the maritime archaeologist who led the expedition that found the wreck, alternates between past and present, reminding readers of what happened in 1915 and also taking them along on his modern-day expedition to find the Endurance. Bound is a terrific storyteller; he writes with a sense of showmanship, instilling the story of the Endurance’s discovery with drama, suspense, and pulse-racing thrills. ... This is simply wonderful.” — Booklist (starred review)
“The story of Shackleton’s Endurance is one of the most extraordinary in the history of exploration. This is more than just an astonishing sequel. It is a tale just as powerful, and one which redefines the meaning of impossible” — Sir Michael Palin, author of Erebus
“As thrilling as any tale from the heroic age of exploration. ... Bound’s account is a triumph. The storytelling is piano-wire taut, the writing saturated with polar moodiness." — Sunday Times (London)
"Gloriously written. ... With the verve of a thriller, Bound's narrative deftly weaves together his voyages and Shackleton's. ... Bound is blessed with a poet's ear for richly evocative language." — Times Literary Supplement (London)
“Captivating and engrossing. … Bound has a natural flair for storytelling and his narrative cracks along with the pace of a well-crafted thriller.” — Mail on Sunday
“An enthralling tale of an extraordinary venture which brings Shackleton’s epic story bang up to the present day.” — Camilla Nichol, chief executive, UK Antarctic Heritage Trust
“The final chapter of one of the age of Antarctic exploration’s most famous sagas is told in marine archaeologist Bound’s page-turning debut. . . . Bound vividly conveys the anxiety and anticipation of archaeological expeditions. Armchair adventurers will be swept up in the thrill of discovery.” — Publishers Weekly
“Exciting, dramatic. ... Bound nicely interweaves the fascinating history of Shackleton’s expedition into his own. An entertaining true-life adventure tale perfect for naval aficionados and armchair expeditioners.” — Kirkus Reviews
"Bound’s remarkable book climaxes with the 2022 triumph of his team finally locating the spectacular wreck, over 3,000 metres down in the least forgiving waters on Earth. Bound is one of the world’s most successful and respected marine archeologists." — The Australian