Surviving Erebus
An Antarctic Adventure

During this adventure story set in the nineteenth century on the historic voyage of Sir James Clark Ross to Antarctica in 1839, David Smythe, a stowaway and very curious young sailor, is forced to fight for his survival-first among the crew and second, out on the vast Ross Ice Shelf while nearly frozen to death. He must decide whether or not to save a shipmate who has plunged down a crevasse, one who has been his major tormentor during the entire voyage.

Smythe and the crew experience attempted murder, ship collisions, nearly being frozen in for a winter in the Bay of Whales and the ship's sinking. He learns the value of Ross's order: "Stay roped together!"

Mt. Erebus, McMurdo Sound, Antarctica
Reviews | Read Excerpt | Readers' Comments | Study Guide (23 MB) | Links for Purchase


The Author, John Barell, without losing any authority or historical and geographical accuracy has produced a powerful rollicking good tale of adventure in the unforgiving oceans of the Antarctic. Download full review here.

  • Mark Forecast , AURORA, Australia’s Antarctic Magazine, December, 2009

A rippin’ good yarn. One which makes you turn the page, over and over again. But it¹s more than this. It is historically faithful to the extraordinary, epic voyage of Sir James Clark Ross.  It captures the characters of the leader and those whom he led in the treacherous waters and ice of Antarctica.  It brings events, which happened over one hundred and fifty years ago, vividly to life.  A compelling read. Congratulations on a considerable achievement.

  • James Ross, Great, great grandson of Sir James Clark Ross, captain of Erebus. London, England.

For the mariner, this tale is a humbling reminder of the mystery and the mastery of the sea. For the adventurer, the story of hardy shipmates sailing a small barque-rigged bomb vessel in the wildest place on earth stretches the imagination. For all readers, the lessons for young Davy, from adolescence to experience and eagerness to patience, catch the spirit as dashing sea conquests lash us to the mast and hold us there.

  • Captain Nonnie Thompson, USCG Merchant Marine Officer, San Francisco.

Download Chapter Thirteen (PDF)

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