And yet, for polar explorers like Jack Winslow, the call is irresistible. Days after his beloved wife's death in May 1909, Jack, his son Colin, and his stepson Andrew, along with a motley crew of sailors, doctors, photographers, and scientists, set out on a journey to the bottom of the earth. During their harrowing expedition, they must confront many horrors in addition to their personal grieving and family disharmony: frostbite, killer whales, deadly ice floes, lack of food, negative-100-degree Fahrenheit temperatures, bottomless crevasses, a mutinous crew. Endurance, loyalty, and humanity are tested, and no man can be sure he'll emerge alive.
Peter Lerangis's exciting novel is packed with thoroughly researched information on the Antarctic and turn-of-the-century ocean travel. While the character development is a little hard to follow--each chapter is told from a different crew member's point of view--the story itself is thrilling. At the conclusion, the explorers (and readers) are left hanging from the proverbial cliff, as the ship becomes trapped between ice floes. (Ages 9 to 13) --Emilie Coulter