❮PDF / Epub❯ ✅ Voyage of the Narwhal ❤ Author Andrea Barrett – Horse-zine.co.uk

Voyage of the Narwhal pdf Voyage of the Narwhal, ebook Voyage of the Narwhal, epub Voyage of the Narwhal, doc Voyage of the Narwhal, e-pub Voyage of the Narwhal, Voyage of the Narwhal fc3d5bbbb6f In Andrea Barrett S Extraordinary Novel Of Arctic And Personal Exploration, Maps Are Deceitful, Ice All Powerful, And Reputation Important Than Truth Or Human Lives When The Narwhal Sets Sail From Philadelphia In May , Its Ostensible Goal Is To Find The Crew Of A Long Vanished Expedition Or At Least Their Relics And Be Home Before Winter Of Course, If The Men Can Chart New Coasts And Stock Up On Specimens En Route, So Much The Better And Then There S The Keen Prospect Of Selling Their Story, Fraught With Danger And Discovery, To A Public Thirsting For Excitement Zeke Voorhees, The Narwhal S Young Commander, Is So Handsome That He Makes Women Stare And Men Hum With Envy Perhaps Not The Best Qualification For His Post But He Seems Loved By All Only His Brother In Law To Be, A Naturalist, Quietly Mistrusts Him, Though He S Determined To Stand By The Youth For His Sister Lavinia S Sake At , Eternal Low Profiler Erasmus Darwin Wells Has One Disastrous Expedition Behind Him And Is Praying For Another Scientific Chance He Is, However, Familiar With The Physical Risks They Re Taking, As Well As The Long Stretches When Nothing Happened Except That One S Ties To Home Were Imperceptibly Dissolved And One Became A Stranger To One S Life And What Of The Women Left Behind Lavinia Knows Little Of The Dangers Of Ice Though She S Well Schooled In Isolation And Lives Only For Zeke S Return Her Companion, Alexandra Copeland, Is Less Sanguine Even After She S Been Given A Secret Career Break Ghosting For An Ailing Engraver She Knows How Invisible She Is And How Threatening Her Family S Dense Net Of Obligations Will Always Be Though They Get Less Page Time, Barrett Is In Fact As Concerned With These Women As She Is With Her Seafarers Like The Heroines Of Her National Book Award Winning Ship Fever, Who Bump Up Against Science And History In Which Only Men S Triumphs Are Written, They Must Somehow Escape Social Tyranny Or Retreat Into The Consolations Of Storytelling Or Silence There Is Tyranny On Board The Narwhal As Well, As Zeke Alternates Between Good Will And Paranoia, His Closest Companion An Arctic Fox He Has Civilized And Who Sits On His Shoulder Like A White Epaulet Alas, Sabine, Like Many Of The Men, Is Not To Survive The Journey Encounters With The Esquimaux Who Might Know About The Lost Expedition Than They Re Willing To Share Not Having Gone According To Plan, Zeke Determines In Late August To Head For Smith Sound Rather Than Home, Despite The Crew S Protests By Mid September, However, The Craft Is Ice Locked, And It S Clear They Ll Have To Winter Over At First The Men Make The Best Of Their Situation, Magically Sculpting Cottages, Castles, Palaces, Even A Whale And Offering Informal Seminars In Butchery, Bible Studies, And Basic Navigation However, As The Weather Worsens And Zeke Grows Increasingly Despotic, Morale Plummets Barrett Excels In Both Physical And Social Description, Writing With A Naturalist S Precision And A Passionate Imagination With Quick Strokes Backed Up By Intense Research , She Can Fill Us In On Some Sensible But Threatening Esquimaux Footgear All Five Were Dressed In Fur Jackets And Breeches, With High Boots Made From The Leg Skins Of White Bears The Men S Feet, Erasmus Saw, Were Sheltered By The Bears Feet, With Claws Protruding Like Overgrown Human Toenails Walking, The Men Left Bear Prints On The Snow The Author Also Shines In Panoramic Scenes Her Descriptions Of The Arctic Can Only Be Called Magnificent And In Small, Precarious, Personal Moments When Erasmus Eventually Returns To Philadelphia, Minus His Toes And His Future Brother In Law, A Grieving Lavinia Takes To Her Bed Eventually, However, She Relents Lavinia Stared Straight Ahead Straight At Erasmus, Her Right Hand Tucked In Her Lap While Her Left Turned A Silver Spoon Back To Front, Front To Back, The Reflections Melting, Re Forming, And Melting Again Lavinia Said Softly, I Forgive You Everyone Knew She Was Speaking To Erasmus The Voyage Of The Narwhal Is Full Of Blood Freezing Surprises, A Score Of Indelible Characters, And Heart Stopping Mysteries As Erasmus Watches Alexandra Draw Landscapes He Has Seen Before But Missed Something In, Each Pencil Stroke Is Like A Chisel Held To A Cleavage Plane Tap, Tap, And The Rock Split Into Two Sharp Pieces, The World Cracked And Spoke To Him Readers Of Andrea Barrett S Novel Will Experience This Sensation Again And Again Packed With Harsh Truths About The Not Always True Art Of Discovery, It Is Also Among The Most Emotionally Wrenching, Subtle Works Of The CenturyKerry Fried

10 thoughts on “Voyage of the Narwhal

  1. says:

    This is a book of fiction and fact While the background characters are real, the ones drawn in the plot are fictional There are many who prefer having historical facts woven into an engaging fictional story That is what this book achieves There is a huge amount of research on polar flora, fauna, history, expeditions, literature and way of life packed into this book You can read many books of non fiction or you can read this book and rest assured that what happens here has somewhere, sometime happened in real life This one book puts together all the diverse hardships explorers have encountered on innumerable polar expeditions Each chapter begins with a quote from literature on polar conditions, explorations, science or natural history In this way other books of reference are provided Darwin, Thoreau and Emerson we all recognize, but there are many, many referred to here, men such as William Scoresby, Elisha Kent Kane, Jean Louis Agassiz This one book is a trove of names and authors specializing on the arctic and natural history.It is appropriate that a book focused on natural phenomenon should have lyrical prose This does Nature is beautiful and so the lines describing it must be beautiful too The dialogs however are quite ordinary and sometimes anachronistic The book describes the era, the 1850s, well views on scientific theories, enthusiasm for the discovery and exploration of new lands, mapping, discussion of the provenance of races, abolition and God versus science The value of art and literature Not only the explorers themselves but also their wives lives are woven into the story When the men return, only half of the story is completed What is done with all that discovered Who is successful and who has failed How does one deal with failure and what have the winners done to achieve success The author does not shy away from pointing out moral ambiguities I feel the book deserves four stars for the immense amount of research and valuable information contained within its covers The characters are credible The topics covered are many Yet, when I ask myself how I feel toward the book I say, I liked it My head tells me I should have liked it While I admire the author s skill, I can t help but ask, Why not just read the original non fiction source material Get the facts straight so you know exactly what happened and when If you have already read books of non fiction, rather than being surprised and carried along you merely recognize what you have heard before This explains my three stars I think it is a bit of a shame that the book does not take the opportunity to portray the strength of those left behind Often the wives in communities of seamen, explorers and whalers are strong, independent and self sufficient Look at the women of Nantucket and Iceland, Norway and Denmark Here the ship departs from Philadelphia in May 1855 they were looking for the British explorer Sir John Franklin who had departed in search of the Northwest Passage but never returned There were in fact two American and ten British ships looking for him The audiobook narration is done by George Guidall It is easy to follow and clear His intonations fit the respective characters well The central character is self effacing, questioning and unsure Guidall s voice quavers when we follow Erasmus thoughts, and I guess it should, but it sure did make me want to shake him Books of non fiction Arctic DreamsThe Worst Journey in the WorldRace for the South Pole The Expedition Diaries of Scott and AmundsenArctic Explorations in the Years 1853, 54, 55 The Second Grinnell Expedition in Search of Sir John Franklin Vol 2Endurance Shackleton s Incredible Voyage 4 stars Give Me My Father s Body The Life of Minik, the New York Eskimo 3 stars The Long Exile 4 stars Polar Dream The First Solo Expedition by a Woman and Her Dog to the Magnetic North Pole 4 stars Of course, even in non fiction what we are told is sometimes only one version of given events there can be distortions and even untruths.

  2. says:

    Andrea Barrett s novel about the era of discovery and exploration in the Arctic is intoxicating Especially for me after a diet of mysteries and thrillers that are often entertaining but rarely memorable, reading truly literary fiction by a master is like breathing pure oxygen.What makes it literary is the combination of prose that is exquisite and robust at the same time characters that are subtle and nuanced and a riveting plot with emotional undercurrents that address basic human desires Barrett puts this all in a package that is also seamlessly entertaining.The main character is Erasmus Welles, a natural historian who in modern parlance would be called a loser He picks the wrong expeditions to accompany, the ones deemed largely to be a failure and which are forgotten or remembered only with embarrassment He is too self effacing and honest in an age and profession where the self aggrandizing egomaniacs willing to stretch the truth and even lie like the historical Kane or Erasmus s fictional nemesis Zeke are the ones who get the recognition and the glory.The novel tells the tale of one of the many expeditions in the mid 19th century that set out to find the famous explorer Franklin, who was lost with his crew in the Arctic It is Erasmus s childhood friend Zeke Vorhees who has raised the finance and planned the voyage who asks him to accompany the expedition as natural historian, collecting samples and documenting their trip into little known Arctic waters.The trick of Arctic exploration was to use the short window of late summer when ice packs had thawed enough to allow ships to pass and to find your way back before the onset of winter closed off all escape and forced an ice packed crew to spend the long winter in the Arctic The fact that Zeke wanted to be provisioned for the eventuality of spending the winter, Erasmus realized too late, indicated that he was willing to take that chance if it was necessary to fulfilling his ambition of either finding Franklin or exploring previously uncharted waters.For these voyages were primarily about ambition Barrett is a master at portraying the passion that motivated these 19th century scientists, discovering and cataloging nature in all its aspects, as she displayed in the collection of novellas in Servants of the Map This was Erasmus s main motivation He grew up in a Philadelphia household where his father much like Indiana Jones father as portrayed by Sean Connery was obsessed with arcane learning and indoctrinated his children especially the four sons Erasmus, Linnaeus, Humboldt and Copernicus in his love of learning and discovery.But Erasmus is not immune to the ambition of getting the recognition and glory and indeed, money that accrued to these explorers who enthralled the public with their books and lectures after they returned These adventurers, for all their self aggrandizing faults, received the adulation then that we now give to celebrities with far less achievement His earlier voyage to the Antarctic was a failure and he sees a chance to redeem his reputation in this new voyage.The ship, the Narwhal, is named after the peculiar whales of the Arctic waters that have a single long horn protruding from their heads It sets out with considerable fanfare from Philadelphia with Zeke as commander, Erasmus as natural historian and his second, a whaling captain as sailing master, a surgeon, a cook, a carpenter and a small crew.During the voyage to these exotic outposts in Greenland and northern Canada, the story is about the tension between Zeke and his crew, with Erasmus caught in the middle Erasmus is drawn to the surgeon, Dr Boerhaave, himself an amateur natural historian, and the young Irish immigrant cook, Ned Lynd, who apparently was a minor character in Barrett s earlier Ship Fever, which won a National Book Award In harrowing detail, drawing on numerous journals of real explorers from that period, Barrett depicts the hardships of the voyage and the privations and dangers that set in once they are immobilized for the long, dark winter.Interlaced through it is Barrett s wonderfully exact descriptions of the minutiae of flora and fauna that so impassioned the natural historians who filled those fusty museums with all those glass cases of bones and shells and produced all those engravings in lovingly crafted books The reader learns to relish the very obscurity of the places and things described by the author.But the end of the voyage and the return of the travelers is not the end of the story It is in fact the aftermath of the voyage as it plays out again in Philadelphia where the themes of ambition and failure and betrayal so tellingly introduced in the harsh Arctic landscape come to fruition in an urban setting different than ours but easily recognizable.Erasmus s sister, Lavinia, who was betrothed to Zeke, waits like Penelope for the return of her beloved Another childhood friend of the Welles, Alexandra, whose family has fallen on hard times, stays with her as a paid companion The artistically inclined Alexandra gets involved in producing the engravings for the book of an earlier Arctic explorer, the real life Kane.When the remnant of the Narwhal crew returns given the hardship of the voyage it is not a spoiler to reveal that not every one makes it back , it is their interaction with the two women and Erasmus s brother Copernicus, a painter of some renown, that makes for a long second act.A subtext to the human drama is the depiction of how these explorers, for all their human failings, enriched our understanding of the world While the whalers who rescued the Narwhal crew derided city dandies like Zeke and Erasmus who made a big deal of discovering and naming places they were long familiar with, bringing back the knowledge was in fact an important contribution No matter that some of these men were virtual charlatans in exaggerating or dissembling their discoveries, in glossing over their cruelties and errors Their reports, their sketches, their specimens were nonetheless a vitally important contribution to the advancement of scientific understanding.I went through my science phase as a child and can easily relate to the fascination of Erasmus for discovering and collecting things It is in fact the childlike enthusiasm of these early explorers that provides much of the energy of Barrett s historical fiction.But whether you share this enthusiasm or not, the harsh human lessons of Barrett s drama have a universal appeal that will reward any reader The thrill of Arctic exploration, the discovery of new and unexpected places, the time travel to the Philadelphia and Washington of a young and energetic America all these are bonuses just to be enjoyed I was a big fan of Barrett after Servants of the Map, and now I m a devoted fan.

  3. says:

    I gave up at p 70 Historical fiction for me is a genre that has to be done superbly, otherwise count me out The subject matter a mid nineteenth century arctic expedition was potentially interesting, but Barrett s prose is leaden, dead, and uninspired Who are these writers, who win Guggenheim fellowships and MacArthur Fellowships and National Book Awards, yet write novels I find unreadable

  4. says:

    After posting this initially, I discovered some notes I made during the read, so I have done a bit of revision 26 10 15This story brings to life the world of arctic exploration, much in vogue in the nineteenth century I was expecting a tale of seafaring adventure, and while there is a very affecting evocation of the practicalities of sailing into the freezing waters of the north, with a rich picture of the provisioning, the conditions, the tasks of the voyagers, searching for traces of the lost expedition of Sir John Franklin, the charting of the coastline, islands and bays, and the efforts at natural history research, rather token as it turns out the bulk of the time on board is taken up with view spoiler the wintering of the Narwhal when it gets stuck in the ice and the efforts of the remaining crew to return to Philadelphia once they abandon the stranded ship The search for answers about Sir John is a pretext for the real interests of Andrea Barrett in telling this tale, which are the disintegration of order and humanity among a group of isolated and stranded men and how reputations are made and lost She contrasts unsureness with certainly, particularly in the persons of the two principal characters the young, impetuous, ambitious commander, Zeke Vorhaaves, and his older friend, ostensibly anyway, Erasmus Wells, a naturalist who, while honourable and decent, is hapless and indecisive He is unsure of himself, unsure of where he stands and how he should behave Erasmus thinks he will make a significant scientific contribution, but Zeke obliges him and others on the Narwhal to sign agreements that all journals be handed over at the end of the voyage And we know that Erasmus s actions will be misinterpreted, misunderstood and misrepresented After Vorhaaves has left the stranded vessel to strike out for help on his own, Wells takes the agonising decision to abandon the Narwhal, and lead the remnant crew south, leaving the Commander to his fate presumed dead When Vorhaaves turns up much later, we know Wells will cop the blame Barrett wonders about the reputations of the various arctic explorers and how they were created, the better at publicity and promotion the greater the reputation it seems The keys to such a reputations, indeed keys to considerable fame are discoveries of some kind, charting the unexplored lands, putting a stamp on the landscape they traverse and of course some tangible evidence of their discoveries, be it artefacts, specimens or most dramatically actual dwellers from the northern lands, all brought back for public tours, exhibitions and lectures.The second half of the book takes place after the expedition has been completed and concentrates of the uneasy relationships between Wells and his family especially his sister Lavinia, who has now married Vorhaaves as we long expected, and broadly the community Erasmus lives in, including the scientific community The surprise return of the Commander ultimately leads to Wells deciding to abandon the family home He finds redemption of sorts in the company, the affectionate company, of a talented artistic collaborator, Alexandra, and in acting at last in a decisive way, by repatriating an Esquimou boy, brought back, probably forcibly, by Commander Vorhaaves hide spoiler

  5. says:

    I discovered Andrea Barrett via this thoroughly researched narrative about 19th century Arctic exploration, and she s now one of the authors whose work I snap up as soon as it appears in hardback Her talent is in combining science with literature in a fascinating and accessible way Here she manages to combine 19th century concerns emancipation of slaves, theories of evolution, an obsession with the Arctic with modern ones the role of women who have to stay at home and wait , personal growth, cultural imperialism, and how truth is relative She reminds me of George Eliot in the way that she takes a generous view even of the least admirable characters Early in the novel, her main character, Erasmus Wells, a repressed and unsuccessful 40 something naturalist, writes return return If I drew that scene I d show everything happening at once But when I describe it in words one thing follows another and everything s shaped by my single pair of eyes, my single voice I wish I could show it as if through a fan of eyes Widening out from my single perspective to several viewpoints, then many, so the whole picture might appear and not just my version of it return return This is how the novel is written it doesn t always work notably in the case of trying to put across the experience of an Eskimo woman transplanted to Philadelphia But it does give you a sense of the many different versions of reality, and it is beautifully written.

  6. says:

    I put off reading this book for too long, so I perhaps wasn t in the mindset to read it, knowing it had to go back to the library as soon as possible I started it on a Friday, which is never a good day to start a book for me, as the weekend is always distracting But I gamely tried to get as much under my belt as I could that Friday.I failed quite a bit that day I just couldn t get into the book It was dry, it was confusing Barrett added in little unexplained details that you knew would be explained later, but this is an affectation that bothers me quite a bit, as my memory, distracted as I am by my life, isn t as great as I would like But then something changed, and I m not sure where it did All of a sudden, I could see the Arctic landscape in my eye, with Erasmus and Zeke and Ned and Dr Boerhaave and the other men surviving the brutal Arctic weather as best as they could I found myself devouring words and pages, until I looked up after reading a hundred pages, thinking just a few minutes had passed I became invested in what happened to Erasmus, both physically and emotionally, and that tied me to the story.This isn t a quick, rollicking adventure story It s much of a slow burn that grabs you all of a sudden, but keeps on simmering I could almost see the engravings Alexandra worked on, both while Erasmus was gone and the ones she created for him I could nearly feel the bone numbing cold of the Arctic, and see the grubs Erasmus and the others had to eat in order to survive I felt so much for Erasmus, for all he had lost in his first adventure, the one that came before the Narwhal, and then on this voyage.But it also reminds us of how far we have come in science Not that long ago, we felt that different ethnicities were indeed a different species Europeans could not fathom that a primitive nation like the Esquimaux could share a common ancestor with their advanced people, so of course they were a wholly different species As a person fascinated by anthropology, it makes me sad to think of all the knowledge we lost of these so called primitive people, before we realized that preserving or at least recording their way of life was a meaningful thing, as opposed to simply civilizing them If only we could send anthropologists and ethno linguists back in timeI would highly recommend this book, with the caveat that it is a very slow start that some might not care to muddle through I look forward to finding Barrett s other books.

  7. says:

    Meticulously researched novel of a fictitious Arctic expedition and its aftermath set roughly between 1850 and 1857, supposedly started as yet another gallant attempt to find the British explorer s John Franklin s lost expedition to chart a Northwest Passage 1845 1847.The author brilliantly chooses a historical period where the craze and romance of Arctic exploration led to a point where there were ten British and two US ships searching for Franklin as Wikipedia baldly puts it Eventually, ships and men were lost looking for Franklin than in the expedition itself.The polar regions exploration craze had its ups and downs since at least the sixteenth century, reaching epic proportions in the nineteenth century which would eventually lead to nationalist races to reach both the North Pole supposedly first reached by the American explorer Peary in 1909 and the South Pole reached by the Norwegian explorer Amundsen in 1911, just five weeks ahead of Scott I must have been about eleven or twelve years old when I first read Edward Evans mythical treatment of Scott s tragic expedition to the South Pole South with Scott, 1921 It would take me decades to come across Roland Hartford s controversial 1979 debunking of the myth in The Last Place on Earth Scott and Amundsen s Race to the South Pole In fact some years after the Apollo 11 moon landing, the ultimate twentieth century expedition linguistically and tellingly turned into a manned mission, novelists like Per Olof Sundman in The Flight Of The Eagle 1972 about S A Andr e s, a Swedish engineer, disastrous 1897 attempt to balloon to the North Pole, and Thomas Keneally in Victims of the Aurora 2001 came up with darker, damning accounts of some of the great polar region explorers of the nineteenth century.What drove men to attempt ill equipped indeed, sometimes foolhardy and almost suicidal attempts to explore these frigid regions What sort of men embarked on these quests The conventional, romantic view was that such men were heroes, braving the unknown, on Faustian quests for knowledge charts, specimens, a shortcut across the Arctic or simply the glory of discovering something new , something they could name or that could be named after them.Many of these expeditions can be read as case histories in hubris, not only of particular men but of Western Civilization s conquest of Nature, of its metastasis of self righteousness, of the thirst for power that would plunge it into World War I and shatter the illusion of moral progress In this sense Andrea Barrett does not provide us with the warm glow of heroic myth, but rather projects modern day sensibilities, doubts and other, darker subtexts into this very well researched novel The single minded, larger than life heroes of exploration are shown to be men with uncommonly large feet of clay anti heroes and bullies who write themselves larger than life at the expense of those who served under them Barrett undercuts them savagely they confiscate their subordinates work, plagiarize them, refuse to listen to good sense, thrust themselves shamelessly into the limelight, despise and ride roughshod over those they consider their inferiors, which is most of the rest of the world, and believe themselves invulnerable None of his reading taught him the crucial thing He could imagine the hardships faced by the explorers preceding us but not that anything bad might happen to himself A boy s belief.The subtexts give an idea what the official, the scientific societies and the public newspaper histories leave out whalers refer disparagingly to the discovery men It s what we call you arctic exploring types, he said All you men who go on exploring expeditions, with funding and fanfare and special clothes, thinking you ll discover something When every place you go some whaling ship has already been We know about the land and the currents than you ever will, and about the habits of the whales and seals and walruses That s what discovery men do, Captain Sturrock said Get lost Lose things the firmly shut out womens side of the stories the racist slant of many scientific theories the moral blindness that respected white men s graves and mortal remains but shows no similar compunction for other races or people the Esquimaux refer disparagingly to the sickly men in blue garments She couldn t understand how these people survived They d been like children, dependent on her tribe for clothes, food, sledges, dogs surrounded by things that were of no use to them and bereft of women Like children they gave their names to the landscape, pretending to discover places her people had known for generations.The Esquimaux had a name for the expedition leader a chain of soft syllables that meant The One who is Trouble To his face, they d said the syllables meant The Great Explorer.Yet, Andrea Barrett is very much alive to romance of exploration and science and we come away from the book with a sense of awe for the Arctic landscape, wonder at the wealth of detail and variety of living creatures studied by science, nostalgia and admiration for the delicately tinted and engraved period illustrations that accompanied scientific papers, and a keen, if anachronistic, sense of loss for sensitive, less destructive roads Western culture missed as it reached into other worlds and other cultures What Barrett unfortunately leaves out, is that, as one sided, biased, hamstrung and blind as some of the scientific work was, it helped lay the ground for better work in the future after all, how much would we know about the habits of whales and seals and walruses if, with all due respect to Hermann Melville, we depended only on the writings of whalers Finally, if you liked this novel, I would highly recommend Voss 1957 by the Australian novelist Patrick White Nobel Prize for Literature, 1973 , loosely based on a 1845 expedition to cross the Australian continent led, in real life, by the Prussian explorer and naturalist Ludwig Leichhardt, a novel which also traces the obsessions of an explorer, a woman who waits for him, the nineteenth century craze for exploration and the colliding worlds of Western and indigenous cultures.

  8. says:

    This book did what I hoped it would it brought me out of myself into a totally different world I know nothing about polar expedition but loved learning about it Now next on my list is Endurance.

  9. says:

    I chose to read this book because I have always been fascinated with polar exploration doomed expeditions I thought that this was what this book was about And in a minor way, it is But truthfully, it goes way beyond this expectation and way beyond this particular story line In 1855, all the news is about the missing Franklin expedition, gone to seek the north pole in the age of discovery From Philadelphia, Zeke Voorhees is mounting an expedition to either find Franklin or find some evidence that Franklin is dead Among the crew is Zeke s soon to be brother in law, Erasmus Darwin Wells Erasmus is a naturalist not a famous one by any stretch This voyage would be a chance for Erasmus to make something of himself he had earlier served on a Pacific Antarctic expedition with a captain who tormented the crew then stole the work Erasmus had done Erasmus felt that there was nothing he could have done at the time to stop any of it Erasmus has also been charged by his sister Lavinia to take care of Zeke no matter what happens and bring him back to her to marry so that she can find happiness in being his wife This is a promise that Erasmus takes very seriously as it turns out, much to his detriment Up in the Arctic waters, the expedition finds evidence of Franklin of his death thus everyone assumes that it is now time to go home everyone is glad to be leaving But out of nowhere, Zeke realizes that he has not left a mark by which to be remembered so he orders the captain crew to sail farther north, so that he can go well beyond the areas previously explored find fame for himself Everyone objects but since he is the leader of the expedition all are paid by him, the crew is forced to follow his orders Unfortunately, where he decides to stop the ship is just where the ice is the most impenatrable after the season starts they are stuck there and must winter there Tragedy ensues at the point at which the crew wants to leave and the opportunity begins to present itself, Zeke refuses to let the expedition end he asks for volunteers to go with him to seek help from the Eskimos that wander the Arctic in that area No one will go with him He tells them when he will be back he doesn t return and the crew has to leave without him On arriving home, Erasmus is filled with guilt is shamed by everyone who believes he left Zeke to die, since Zeke had put him in charge if anything happened This is also a story about one man s ambition and its cost I won t go into details but suffice it to say that decisions are made that affect each and every man not only aboard ship, but others too once the voyage is over It also deals with one man s need to redeem himself, regardless of the consequences I can easily highly recommend this novel It was incredible Some readers may not like the tone of this novelat no time do we cozy up to the characters, but I believe the author does this on purpose So if you re looking for warm fuzzies, don t bother with this book Otherwise, take your time and enjoy it.

  10. says:

    I love Andrea Barrett s books I was really happy the other day to discover that there was an older novel of hers that I had forgotten about and hadn t had a chance to read yet The topic of the arctic exploration was also the perfect thing to read this February, what with the snow mounds outside my house taller than I am.Barrett s narrator s always have a slightly anachronistic modern sensibility, but I enjoy them and can connect with them Her writing plays with ideas of how scientific thinking has shaped people s world views, and how people in different time periods are presented with and make sense of the current scientific thinking of the day In this novel, set in the 1850 s, she has the narrators struggle with the variety of plant species in different climates and the ideas in the 19th century from Agassiz about the relationship of human peoples to each other and to their landscape.She also brings us face to face with the hypocrisy and self aggrandizing of the 19th century explorers who discovered lands that were well known for generations by different groups of people.It is a captivating and well written narrative A definite good read for anyone interested in 19th century natural philosophy or arctic expeditions.

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