British Royal Navy Capt. Sir John Franklin is nearing the end of an uneven career. Described as "a man everyone likes, but no one respects," Franklin has seen men die under his leadership on previous expeditions, and now he would like to retire with honors by discovering the Northwest Passage. Guiding the HMS Erebus into uncharted territory, Franklin's most perilous journey yet pushes his crew to the brink of extinction. Frozen, isolated and stuck at the end of the earth, the men have been put in horrible danger by their commander's Victorian hubris. A struggle to survive ignites infighting, and Franklin must try to undo the damage he has caused.