Adventurous Spines

A lot of books get an awful lot of abuse, but the best-loved and most abused, in my opinion, are the ones squeezed onto hastily-erected shelves in frostbitten huts plunged into darkness for three to four months each year. The Ice Star has yet to join the hallowed spines of polar greats, but it is on its way to the Arctic, in the library of an Aurora Expeditions adventure cruise ship – they just posted about it on their Facebook page.

I have discovered interesting books in remote cabins in the far north of Greenland, Canada, and Alaska. Tracing a finger down the cracked and splintered spine of a much-read, and much-abused book evokes a sense of adventure for it takes an adventurous spirit to reach such cabins in the wilds.

In the same way that frost can often eat into a book in a remote cabin, books can eat into the miles taken to reach such places. When the stove is burning, your wool socks are thawing on the line looped between the rafters, and you’re kicking back in a bruised-wood chair, a sleeping bag wrapped around your knees, a cup of cocoa in one hand and a book in the other, well … you get the picture. There’s nothing better after a long trek, paddle, climb, or ski than following the path of another adventurer through the pages of a book.

I plan on sending more books into the wilds, perhaps you’ll find one someday.

Photo of Shackleton’s bookshelf from The Smithsonian.

Frost Bite and Frozen Corpses

the-ice-starI have killed again.

I’m not proud of the fact, but I have lost track of the body count – it’s not huge, but enough. It got a little rough all of a sudden, racing by dog sledge to the endgame. It’s a thriller – of that I have no doubt. But the political machinations took me by surprise, as have the characters. I mean, the Greenlander – Dina, she has more guts than I will ever have! She shows it too.

And then there is Fenna – Konstabel Brongaard herself. She has shown what she is capable of, and yet, she’s human. A woman in a man’s world – it’s a cliché she is doing her best to turn around, without sleeping with the leading male protagonist. And why not? Well, she is the main protagonist!

Between the description of the sledge patrol, when nature shows its teeth, and the build up to the first “car chase” (it’s a little different than your usual fare), there is plenty to occupy Fenna. She really is in a bind – literally to begin with, and then, well, literally again.

You know, at this point, even I’m not sure she is going to make it.

The Ice Star is available for pre-order from Amazon at a reduced price. Spoiler(ish) alert – Canadians are cool, really, and I could imagine Ryan Gosling playing a role in The Ice Star.

Amazon USA

Amazon UK

Amazon Australia

Amazon Canada