William Battersby's work is the first to delve with any depth into the life of the third-in-command [of the Franklin Expedition]-James Fitzjames. Through painstaking research Battersby has detailed the life of the ambitious, accomplished and personable young naval officer. David Woodman, author of Unravelling the Franklin Mystery
I commend this intriguing and interesting life of James Fitzjames, Captain of HMS Erebus, during her ill-fated Arctic voyage, under Sir John Franklin's overall command. Ann Savours, author of The Search for the North West Passage
A riveting detective story that reveals a whole host of compelling details about the nature of nineteenth-century maritime endeavour, and the fated, enigmatic Captain Fitzjames ... Revelation follows revelation - a worthy addition to the distinguished literature on the greatest Arctic naval disaster in history. Benedict Allen, author, explorer and TV filmmaker/presenter
James Fitzjames was a hero of the early nineteenth-century Royal Navy. A charismatic man with a wicked sense of humour. he pursued his naval career with wily determination. When he joined the Franklin Expedition at the age of 32 he thought he would make his name. But instead the expedition completely disappeared and he never returned. Its fate is one of history's last great unsolved mysteries, as were the origins and background of James Fitzjames - until now.
Fitzjames packed a great deal into his thirty-two years. He had sailed an iron paddle steamer down the River Euphrates and fought with spectacular bravery in wars in Syria and China. But Fitzjames was not what he seemed. He concealed several secrets, including the scandal of his birth, the source of his influence and his plans for after the Franklin Expedition.
In this first complete biography of the captain of HMS Erebus, William Battersby draws extensively on Fitzjames personal letters and journals - most never published before - as well as official naval records, to strip away 200 years of misinformation and half-truths and enables us to understand for the first time this intriguing man and his significance for the Franklin Expedition.
"The book thoroughly engaged me ... if naval history or the Franklin Expedition are your interests, you'll want to add James Fitzjames to your collection." -- Financial News UK business website July 2010
Introduction: Faceoff; The Farm Team; Shipping Out; The Learning Curve; Into the Oil Patch; Solo; Corporate Connections; Catching Fire; Toughing It Out; The Puck Stops Here; Giving Back; Family Matters; Epilogue: Third-Period Thoughts; Index.