A novel of epic sweep, thrilling arctic adventure and heartbreaking pathos from one of Canada's finest writers.
At the centre of the book is the rivalry between Robert Peary and Frederick Cook to be the first American to reach the North Pole. Its protagonist, however, is Devlin Stead, a young man from St John's Newfoundland. Devlin's mother dies when he is only five, in mysterious circumstances, and he endures a lonely childhood before discovering the truth about his parentage.
That discovery transforms his life: he finds his true father and embarks on a journey of unbelievable risk. His adventure brings him celebrity, acclaim from New York's "society", real love, and finally, the truth about the bitter feud between two, strange, driven men.
With this book, Johnston has harnessed the scope, energy and inventiveness of the nineteenth-century novel and channelled it through the haunting and eloquent voice of his hero. His descriptions of place, whether of the frozen Arctic wastes or teeming New York, have an extraordinary physicality and conviction, recreating a time when the wide world seem to be there for the taking.