"A luminous work of historical fiction that explores the far reaches of the Arctic and of men's souls." —Denver Post
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.
About the Author
Andrea Barrett is the author of Natural History, the National Book Award–winning Ship Fever, and Pulitzer Prize finalist Servants of the Map, among other works of fiction. The recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship and a Guggenheim Award, she lives in the Adirondacks.
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
[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
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
Stunning…Barrett shows the arrogance and delusion that drove the age of exploration better than any nonfiction book could. — Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Times