The dazzling landscape central to this multifaceted tale of adventure and aspiration is the white Antarctic vastness known as the Ice. The story is told of an expedition to the South Pole, led by a young, ardent American woman, Morgan Lamont – an expedition inspired and haunted by the tragic journey, eighty years before, of the British explorer Robert Falcon Scott.
For Morgan, Scott’s life, his dream, his death, and the very concept of Antarctic navigation are obsessive emblems of the search for integrity in a morally precarious age. Freed by her mother’s quixotic and frightening sacrifice and the generosity of her hitherto estranged grandfather, she sets out to fulfill her dream – to “vindicate” Scott by recreating his historic polar expedition.
Morgan’s journey – and everything in her life, and in her America, that has led to it – is made vivid and real. This is how Morgan the daughter, the lover, the independent thinker, the maverick, becomes the Morgan who brings together a brilliant, unlikely group of explorers and rallies them through physical and emotional dangers, crises and storms, across the ice to the Pole.
As she and her companions head back to their base, built near the hut from which Scott’s expedition set out; as they struggle to cross once more, before the austral winter begins, the magnificent and terrible terrain that is the last great wilderness on earth; as Morgan’s own physical, intellectual and emotional certainties are severely tested, we see in her a hero for our times. Her epic journey of the heart and mind and body becomes emblematic of the dangerous passage all of us face as the millennium approaches.
At once extravagant and austere, pulsing with color and detail against the start Antarctic ice, this is a novel as singular as the continent it reveals. It is a work whose authenticity, storytelling force and metaphorical richness – immersing us in the world of Antarctic exploration – illumine both the meaning of the century now ending and the power of the human spirit to navigate the new and the unknown.