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About the BookDelving into the history of Arctic exploration, this book follows the crew and commander of a ship searching for the open polar sea, as seen through the eyes of a scholar-naturalist. 16 steel engravings. Map.
Capturing a crucial moment in the history of exploration--the mid-nineteenth century romance with the Arctic--Andrea Barrett's compelling novel tells the story of a fateful expedition. Through the eyes of the ship's scholar-naturalist, Erasmus Darwin Wells, we encounter the Narwhal's crew, its commander, and the far-north culture of the Esquimaux. In counterpoint, we meet the women left behind in Philadelphia, explorers only in imagination. Together, those who travel and those who stay weave a web of myth and mystery, finally discovering what they had not sought, the secrets of their own hearts.
[B]oth cunningly cerebral and hair-raisingly visceral...This is an astonishingly good book by a writer we must declare as major.-- "Newsday"
A wonderful book in the truest sense of the word--wonder-filled.-- "USA Today"
Breathes with a contemporary urgency, an exhilarating adventure novel...A genuine page turner that long lingers in the mind.--Philip Graham "Chicago Tribune"
Breathtaking...exquisitely written in every way...fully worthy of the massive, dangerous subject it undertakes.-- "Cleveland Plain Dealer"
Stunning...Barrett shows the arrogance and delusion that drove the age of exploration better than any nonfiction book could.-- "Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Times"
This novel takes off over the sea, straight out of history and into tragedy...We get to luxuriate in the promise of retribution and in finely calibrated, persuasive prose.-- "The New Yorker"