David Hirzel has known the name of Tom Crean since first reading the young adult abridgment (Shackleton’s Valiant Voyage) of Alfred Lansing’s Endurance about the age of ten. He began writing Tom Crean’s story in 1995, and eventually in 2011 published Sailor on Ice about Crean’s adventures with Scott’s Terra Nova expedition. Hold Fast is a continuation of that story.
During the course of researching these books, Mr. Hirzel has become the leader of the Hyde Street Living History Players at San Francisco Maritime National Park. He currently writes from Sky Ranch overlooking the sea in Pacifica CA where he designs energy-efficient houses.
"Antarctic Voyager" goes with Tom Crean on the first of his three adventures on that frozen, forbidding continent. Each of them was more dangerous than the last, but this book takes you to the very beginning, to the events and forces that shaped the rest of his life.
When Shackleton’s ship was caught in the ice and crushed, 2nd officer Tom Crean faced each setback as though he did this sort of thing every day. When 28 men were forced to take to sea in three small boats, he took the helm of one of them. To save those men, he crossed the southern ocean in an open boat, to land on a barren shore and cross an unknown territory. Hold Fast follows on that journey.
Tom Crean’s courage in the face of deadly odds his fellow Antarctic explorers. Had he weakened and failed their lives would have remained stories untold.
This is the story of a common man in uncommon circumstances who met every challenge as it came with steadfast purpose. If he knew fear, he never showed it.