Alison Ballance reviews Erebus for Kete Books


In Greek mythology, Erebus was son of Chaos, and god of darkness and shadows. Erebus was also the former warship, captained by James Clark Ross, whose crew was the first – in 1841 - to see the actively erupting Antarctic volcano which they named after their ship. Erebus the volcano dominates Ross Island, which is home to both New Zealand’s Scott Base and the United States’ McMurdo Station, and it is the centrepiece of a stunning new book from mountain and polar photographer Colin Monteath.

Monteath has had a long and productive association with Antarctica. He has spent 32 seasons there and has photographed it and written about it many times. His latest lavishly illustrated book, Erebus the Ice Dragon: a portrait of an Antarctic volcano, traverses history, adventure, science, geography and art, and is a fine addition to the library of Antarctic literature.

Monteath writes that, ‘Erebus is the molten heart of a mountainous island located at the juncture of saltwater ice and a vast continent buried by the thickest freshwater ice on the planet.’ It is a mountain that has clearly captured his imagination and in this he is not alone. With its distinctive summit plume of steam and cloud streaming from its summit at 3794-metres, Erebus looms over - and is also at the heart of - many of the great tales of Antarctic exploration.

Read the full review here