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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The main character Flora is a brilliant creation.
I like the chronicle approach - building a picture of a whole human life from start to finish, I also loved the depiction of Flora's relationships with other people, particularly the Inuit people.
One scene near the end made me cry.
Well I'm not sure if I did or didn't like this book.
I certainly wasn't rushing to finish it.
It felt like listening to soft porn disguised as a book about a travelling.
The constant sex scenes became boring and unnecessary.
Would of liked more about her actual experiences exploring the North Pole.
"Another wonderful book from Stef Penney"
It is hard to believe that Stef Penney can keep producing books to the same high standard. Finishing the book felt like a bereavement from the characters and the landscape. A magical journey to the arctic lands with a wealth of description. The accents of the Inuits made the audiobook seem very authentic - as if we were in their igloos with them. Excellent performances from the narrators.
"Excessively long and numerous passages of sex spoil an entertaining story well told"
Such a shame! Lovely evocative passages describing the polar landscape, fascinating insights into Inuit culture, unexplained deaths and a love story running through it all. So many elements that could have made a wonderful novel. But I have never read a book with so much, such prolonged and such explicit sex. Of course it's a powerful component of the lovers' story, but a substantial edit of all of their sexual encounters wouldn't affect the reader's sympathy for or understanding of their story and would have made the novel a considerably better read for me.
I nearly gave up on this book four or five times. Certainly not recommended for younger readers...
Yes. I enjoyed the different voices
The heroine , she was a fascinating character from start to finish
They were excellent narrators , both of them
there were many moving scenes
I loved this story , Steph Penny is a wonderful author and this latest book is even better than her previous
"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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