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Publisher's Summary

A routine commercial flight disappears over the North Pole. No wreckage. No transponder signals.

Mitch Matthews is writer struggling to make ends meet when his wife's brother offers them a first-class seat on a flight from Hong Kong to New York. When his wife needs to stay behind, it becomes an opportunity for some quality daddy-daughter time with his five-year-old Lilly. At check-in, they run into a strange Norwegian arguing with a huge Russian. A mysterious redhead is guarding a package in the business lounge. But everything is fine...right up until the event.

Within hours of Allied Airlines 695 disappearing, a massive international search is launched. Aircraft and ships are dispatched from Russia, America, Canada, and Norway. How can a modern airliner simply vanish in one of the most heavily monitored places on Earth? 

Global tensions rise. The media and grieving families whip into a frenzy. The armed forces of America and Russia tip the world toward the brink of an apocalyptic war. 

Weeks later, found on the ice in a chance discovery, the journal of Mitch Matthews reveals the incredible truth behind the disappearance of Allied 695, and what really happened in the Polar Vortex.

©2019 Matthew Mather (P)2019 Blackstone Publishing

What listeners say about Polar Vortex

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    3,530
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    1,666
  • 3 Stars
    599
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    171
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    74
Performance
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    241
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    46
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Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    3,129
  • 4 Stars
    1,491
  • 3 Stars
    553
  • 2 Stars
    180
  • 1 Stars
    101

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Be prepared to suspend your belief for over 10 hours

First off - the narrator was quite good. The children’s voices were a bit grating after a while but tolerable. I was able to follow the story with the wide variety of voices the narrator used.

Next, I have almost 400 titles in my Audible library and this is my first “one star” rating for a story.

As a Canadian who lives in northern Canada and who can (and has) experienced temperatures that can get down to -65 Celsius, I listened in disbelief to this novel. Winter hurricanes? Celsius vs Fahrenheit? (Know that -78 Celsius is -108.4 Fahrenheit - you have to understand the cold is not colder just because it’s being read in Celsius.)

I sled (skidoo) in the north and own extreme cold weather clothing. Even dressed as I do for exceptionally cold days (and driving my sled across vast frozen lakes at 60 miles/hr with no land in sight), I know how cold it can get. So even dressed as warm as I do, I couldn’t have done what these characters supposedly did. It takes up to 5,000 calories a day to sustain yourself out on the ice, not a measly 1,300 shared between a number of people. Not to mention the frostbite they would have experienced? I feel the author wrote a novel without ever experiencing the frigid temperatures we endure here in the north.

And finally my biggest beef: The super heroic cell phones (not to mention the batteries in the flashlights!) in this novel. Ten months ago I broke my leg and lay on a frozen lake for 90 minutes in -31 Celsius weather before I was rescued. I was dressed appropriately for the frigid weather and before my walk had put my cell phone against my skin (not in a pocket) as I know what frigid weather does to cell phone batteries. When I left the hospital after a week my cell phone needed a new battery because taking it out and calling for help (I made two calls) froze the battery to the point where it wouldn’t hold a charge. I wish I had a cell phone (again and batteries for flashlights!) that was as miraculous as the one(s) in this novel.

As a Canadian I really had to suspend my belief to be able to finish this story. Perhaps if you’ve never experienced cold that can kill you in minutes, then this is a story for you.


154 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wow! This is a fantastic listen!

This book did a great job of making me feel like I was in the book. I felt the hopelessness and cold. I felt the terror or trying to protect the child. And I felt the interminable wait/trek without ever feeling like the book was slow or boring.

In addition, the narrator is very talented. So many different voices. It seriously sounded like there were several narrators.

I highly recommend this book!!!

124 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

What happened?

After listening for 10 hours this story ends without an answer to what happened. It would have been nice to know who did what to whom, but the story ends without that being told. A waste of my time.

36 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Spellbinding—the Best from Mather

Matthew Mather writes spellbinding books of which I have read many. Just when I thought he couldn’t write an even better book here comes Polar Vortex. The reader, Tom Taylorson is an excellent narrator. This is the first book I’ve listened through Audible. This was binge-reading never knowing what would happen next.

30 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great book!

This book was even better than Cyber Storm. It held my attention from the first chapter. Love the characters and the relationships that were formed. I have always been a fan of survival stories and this was a great one. It had the extra twist of a mystery, who brought the plane down and why. The narration was excellent, with each character having a very distinguished voice.

21 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A Survival & Mystery Mashup

3.75 out of 5 stars

I’ve read a couple of Mather books and I have even more in my queue to read. When I saw the cover and the synopsis of this book I knew I was going to jump on it. It wasn’t exactly what I thought it was going to be, but it was still an interesting story.

I need to read the synopsis again to see what Mather gives away there (as to not spoil anything for you here). The opening line of the synopsis really does most of the book justice. “A routine commercial flight disappears over the North Pole. No wreckage. No transponder signals.” There was a lot more to this book those. It reads like a survival thriller mixed with a mystery. There were a few times that I was thinking that it had a “Clue” feel to it. Not the funny movie necessarily, but every time you tried to figure out “whodunit” it felt like it was a guess of a person, a weapon, and a reason.

Unfortunately, it was a bit of a slow burn – it grabbed my attention early, but then took its time letting the reader really feel out what was going to happen. There were numerous times that I thought for sure that things were just going to end and I was going to be livid. Thankfully, that did not happen and the last 25% of the book absolutely flew by. That’s when the final reveal(s) happened and it definitely made the book a worthwhile read.

Overall, I enjoyed Polar Vortex and while it wasn’t an “Oh my god, stop what you’re doing and pick this up” it is definitely one that survival thriller and mystery lovers would enjoy.

128 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Terrible

I would just like to say it’s a good thing this book only cost three bucks because it was also. It seems like every low price book on audible it’s an environmental left wing OK how are can you use the word gay whatever the initials are for all those people now. Boring person it’s never been out of the city of New York and I think just went off what he reads on CNBC add book to save your money

16 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Thank you Matthew Mather!

I was listening and listening and waiting for the punch line. When it came: it blew me over. Well played Sir! Well played. While some of the earlier prose made me wonder if I wanted to buy into the story: it was good enough to give a pass. I am SO happy I did. I don't know how or why you built this story: but (again) Well Played.

57 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Excitement aplenty

If you're a danger junkie who likes to see man against the elements this book is for you. A plane crashes in the polar region and the protagonist is pitted against danger both natural and human. His one goal is to protect his young daughter Lilly and get her home. This is a true pucker-fest.

22 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

It's cold, we get it...

If you like survival books about really cold weather, this might be for you. About 20% of the book is detailed accounts of how cold it is near the north pole... (yep, got it), the suffering, extreme conditions and detailed accounts of each body part and the effects of cold. It became tiring as each additional body part deteriorated and perhaps fell off. Spoiler alert: It also weaves global warming as the whole premise for several conspiracy theories including the downed commercial airliner. Russia and China want to rule the 'new thawed world' and the precious ($3 trillion ??) water resource and they will both go to any lengths to get it. Wait, what?
The first 20% of the book is interesting as it unfolds the mystery and there are a few other high points as new characters are introduced, but the last 80% of the book left me wishing I had that time back.

9 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr Patel
  • 02-19-21

fascistic book - depth of characters, great story

This was a brilliant book, the characters had depth and were well defined and the narrator really bought each one to life. The plot was interesting and kept my guessing as to which direction it would go and who really well the "bad guy". Well worth getting this book.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-02-20

Gripping!

The Reader made this book in my opinion,
Excellent voices! And read with emotion.
You believed it was Mitch Matthews himself recounting the strength and determination of humans pushed to their limits. And especially that of the love of a genuinely decent parent.

It was a good mystery. Thought provoking. And though a little gruesome at times, such is a story of survival.

There were parts I almost stopped, thinking it was heading down an irritating path. But it rapidly Recovered and kept attention.

Some don't seem to favour the ending.
however I feel it adds to the "real life" feeling of the story.
:)

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • John Squire
  • 05-10-19

great

if this was a physical book would not be able to put it down. very engaging

2 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Xuxanadu
  • 08-31-21

Many Words

This audiobook contained many words about a plane crashing. I couldn’t get past a few chapters as I’m afraid it didn’t hold my interest. Just stuff the characters do like walking around, without moving the plot along. Too much info on random things that also didn’t really pertain to moving the story along. It reads like the author googling technical airplane information and then putting it into the book as filler words. I’d be interested in an abridged version of this audiobook if it only contain actual action.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ms. A. Allin
  • 10-08-19

Lots of action

Good book, it was a very interesting story and the narrator had the perfect voice!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Flutterbi
  • 09-12-21

Worth a listen

Good book, The story was intentionally disjointed which a first annoyed me but I got used to it and all the pieces came together at the end. The twist at the end was good and overall it is a very well written book. The narrator Tom Taylorson was very good, and gave life to the characters. It was from the Plus Catalogue and for free was well worth a listen.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Caroline
  • 08-30-21

Thrilling and exciting

I probably wouldn’t have liked this so much to read, but as an audiobook it was brilliant. So exciting - as exciting as watching a thriller film. The performance was great too.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Liz
  • 08-23-21

Hard to put down

Loved Tom's narration, pitch all the accents correctly. I felt cold all the time listening to this. Would make a great film

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-23-21

Six stars at the least

Utterly fantastic. A must listen to for all thriller lovers. Reminiscent of Alistair MacLean at his best.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • elaine
  • 08-21-21

Engrossing

Excellent narrator of a thrilling and well thought out plot.
Interesting characters brought to life and tension and whodunnit right up until the end.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Teressa Scott
  • 05-20-19

Predictable

A good premise but I knew why/ who very early on and then it just seemed to drag on from there as it was so obvious and predictable . Was hoping for a bit more intrigue but ended up sadly disappointed. The narrator was excellent. Maybe just not my genre...