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The North Water Audiobook

The North Water: A Novel

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Publisher's Summary

A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice

A 19th-century whaling ship sets sail for the Arctic with a killer aboard in this dark, sharp, and highly original tale that grips like a thriller.

Behold the man: stinking, drunk, and brutal. Henry Drax is a harpooner on the Volunteer, a Yorkshire whaler bound for the rich hunting waters of the arctic circle. Also aboard for the first time is Patrick Sumner, an ex-army surgeon with a shattered reputation, no money, and no better option than to sail as the ship's medic on this violent, filthy, and ill-fated voyage.

In India, during the Siege of Delhi, Sumner thought he had experienced the depths to which man can stoop. He had hoped to find temporary respite on the Volunteer, but rest proves impossible with Drax on board. The discovery of something evil in the hold rouses Sumner to action. And as the confrontation between the two men plays out amid the freezing darkness of an arctic winter, the fateful question arises: Who will survive until spring?

With savage, unstoppable momentum and the blackest wit, Ian McGuire's The North Water weaves a superlative story of humanity under the most extreme conditions.

©2016 Ian McGuire (P)2016 Macmillan Audio

What the Critics Say

"The North Water...is a great white shark of a book - swift, terrifying, relentless and unstoppable." (The New York Times)

"Riveting and darkly brilliant.... The North Water feels like the result of an encounter between Joseph Conrad and Cormac McCarthy in some run-down port as they offer each other a long, sour nod of recognition." (The New York Times Book Review)

"[An] audacious work of historical suspense fiction.... It's the poetic precision of McGuire's harsh vision of the past that makes his novel such a standout...absolutely transporting." (NPR's Fresh Air)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (308 )
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4.3 (281 )
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4.7 (283 )
5 star
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Spy Chadwick New York City 12-14-16
    Spy Chadwick New York City 12-14-16 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Great story; imperfect narration"
    Any additional comments?

    The story was very engaging, almost cinematic. (It would make a good movie.) As for the narration, John Keating has a flair for accents. He also, unfortunately, has a flair for the dramatic. I found that his dramatic, exaggerated tone when reading the narrative, non-dialogue portions of the novel were a bit too much and distracted from the simple pleasure of the writing.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kyle R. Bemis nashville, tn 05-22-16
    Kyle R. Bemis nashville, tn 05-22-16 Member Since 2016

    avid researcher and avid listener!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not bad, just not for me..."

    I wasn't really sure what to expect from this book. The narrator does a great job with it and was very easy to listen to. The sample your given to listen to,at least for me, makes me think of a game of thrones type of book simply set in a whaling atmosphere - very vivid, a very in your face kind of book. So I took a leap and got it. Where it made me regret it was just past the sample when a boy is raped... Had no idea it was coming, still I pushed on hoping the rest of the book would make up for it soon.... It happened again... Became a piece of the overall plot overall so I won't go any deeper than that. It also wasn't clear who the main character was for a good while, if there even was to be one. There is. As long as you can push past that, then it's not a bad book- ok plot, very detailed, great narration. That being said, would I listen to it again? No, it's just not a book for me.

    8 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    seshormerow Lexington, KY 10-24-16
    seshormerow Lexington, KY 10-24-16 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Well it doesn't get any better than that "

    Every moment s distinct pleasure. Hated for it to end. A seagoing mystery with murders aplenty. WOW.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Villareal 08-15-16
    Villareal 08-15-16 Member Since 2014
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    Story
    "No Frills Historical Fiction"
    Any additional comments?

    This book is historical fiction without any of the asides or descriptive digressions that often appear in works of the genre, The plot gripping and suspensful plot is often violent, and the characters are rough. Not for the faint of heart.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Buyer247 01-17-17
    Buyer247 01-17-17
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not for the Faint of Heart!"
    Any additional comments?

    Great story, with an interesting plot and vivid characters. I'd love to read another book by this author involving the main character and his nemesis meeting up again. Just a note that there is some pretty graphic language (more graphic than "normal," which, I assume, was typical for that period in time), violence, and raunchy sexual references.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ken Draeger SCOTTSDALE, AZ, US 01-15-17
    Ken Draeger SCOTTSDALE, AZ, US 01-15-17 Member Since 2016

    I'm an avid listener always searching for another good book and willing to share my thoughts with a pithy review.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "OK but...likely to make a better movie."

    I'm reminded of the writer Jack London and his tales of sea going. Warning, cruelty and brutality are a major theme throughout this story. The story takes us on a whaling adventure and exposes us to hardships and survivals that make for good reading. But with the aid of computer assisted imagery, the storm scenes and action parts could become very dramatic viewing. The main character is the ship's doctor. His role could be substantially improved by a stronger hero image. Give it a listen and see what you think.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Loretta 12-29-16
    Loretta 12-29-16 Member Since 2015
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    Story
    "Must it end?"

    I loved listening to every minute of this vivid story. Every character is sharply defined, every action riveting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jean Phleger 12-29-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Great book, great story"

    Extremely well read. Enjoyable end to end. The reading performance is remarkable. The author is first class.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patrick Jennings 12-26-16 Member Since 2016
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    3
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    Story
    "Great story with intriguing characters"

    Really enjoyed this look into the whaling industry. Although the language was salty, I suspect it represented accurately the way things were.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karl D. Gottschalk DURHAM, NC, US 12-24-16
    Karl D. Gottschalk DURHAM, NC, US 12-24-16 Member Since 2017
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    2
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    Story
    "Vivid characterization"

    This was a memorable story, with vivid characters and lots of action. One of the best books I have heard this year.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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