Archives for Arctic exploration

Book review: Under A Pole Star

In 1883, twelve-year-old Flora Mackie is taken by her father, captain of the Vega, a whaling ship, to the Arctic. She returns to the Arctic as a young woman, a meteorologist, heading her own expedition. ‘Under a Pole Star’ by Stef Penney is Flora’s story and that of the troubled 1891 Armitage-de Beyn expedition to Greenland. The story starts in 1948 as an American group leaves New Jersey, the purpose unclear. Onboard the plane are scientists, air force men, a television crew, a journalist, and Flora Mackie. The Snow Queen. What unfolds is the story of the two rival expeditions: the British, told by Flora, and the American, told by Jakob de Beyn, geologist with the Armitage party. It is quite a while before there is even a hint of what the controversy may be. Until then, we follow the lives of Flora in Dundee and London, and Jakob in New York, as they grow from children to adults. Finally the separate Greenland expeditions set off, unaware of each other. When Flora and Jake meet in Greenland in 1892 there is a spark between them. At this point I was unsure what the book was about – Arctic exploration, romance,
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Categories: Book Love.

Book review: The Surfacing

The Surfacing by Cormac James is a consuming book about life on the edge of life, life on the edge of death. When you stand at that edge, there is not much difference between the two. In the 1850s, the Impetus sets out into the Arctic. It is part of a rescue party to find the missing Franklin expedition. Delays on shore, including parties and flirtation with the local girls on Greenland, mean the ship is late at the muster and is assigned the most difficult sector to search. Part way into their journey, they discover a stowaway. This woman changes the life of everyone on board, particularly second in charge Lieutenant Morgan. At first she is an intruder in their male world, then she is a nuisance, but finally they accept Miss Rink as one of them. And all the time, winter draws in and the ice clamps around their boat. And Miss Rink is pregnant. They are caught in the ice for the winter. Ice is a character in the novel; it moves, it seems to breath, it thaws and re-freezes. Their lives depend on the ice. The options are endlessly reviewed, always tempered by the thought that
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Categories: Book Love.