Costa-winning author Stef Penney returns to the wild Arctic setting she brought so vividly to life in The Tenderness of Wolves in an epic story of ambition, perseverance and love against the odds. Perfect for fans of To the Bright Edge of the World and The Essex Serpent.
Flora Mackie first crossed the Arctic Circle at the age of 12. In 1889 the whaler's daughter from Dundee - dubbed by the press 'The Snow Queen' - sets out to become a scientist and explorer. She struggles to be taken seriously, but determination and chance lead her back to Northern Greenland at the head of a British expedition despite the many who believe that a young woman has no place in this harsh world of men.
Geologist Jakob de Beyn was raised in Manhattan. Yearning for wider horizons, he joins a rival expedition led by the furiously driven Lester Armitage. When Jakob and Flora's paths cross, it is a fateful meeting. All three become obsessed with the north, a place where violent extremes exist side by side: perpetual night and endless day; frozen seas and coastal meadows; heroism and lies. Armitage's ruthless desire to be the true leader of polar discovery takes him and his men on a mission whose tragic outcome will reverberate for years to come.
Set against the stark, timeless beauty of Northern Greenland and fin-de-siècle New York and London, Under a Pole Star is a compelling look at the dark side of the golden age of exploration, a study of the corrosive power of ambition and an epic, incendiary love story. It shows that sometimes you have to travel to the furthest edge of the world in order to find your true place in it.
©2016 Stef Penney (P)2016 WF Howes Ltd
"A supreme storyteller." (Sunday Times)
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"Another memorable story."
After 'The Tenderness of Wolves' and 'The Invisible Ones' Steff Penny has won my trust as a storyteller. I would read anything she writes and there is lots to admire about exploration and hardship and the native Greenlanders but I was not gripped at the start.The story develops into a love story stretching from London and New York to the Arctic. It is written with a subtle intensity and completeness that includes some very graphic descriptions of intimacy. The power of these scenes and how they contrast with the society of the time is undeniable and is realised in the very satisfying final chapters when some of the tension is built on our knowledge of them. My favorite of Ms Penny's novels remains 'The Invisible Ones' but here is another excellent book full of interesting and well drawn people. It is almost a week since i finished it and I still think of the final scenes.
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