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The Ice Master: The Doomed 1913 Voyage of the Karluk Paperback – October 10, 2001
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Eighty-five years after a famous but ill-equipped Canadian Arctic expedition of 1913 had sacrificed 16 lives, some artifacts appeared on an Internet auction site. They had originated at a "ghost camp," discovered in 1924, where four of the expedition's 28 men, one woman, and two children had perished. Jennifer Niven has completed the unfulfilled mission of survivor William McKinlay to produce a "more honest and revealing account" of the wreck of the Karluk and its aftermath.
The explorers became split into several dispersed groups living "in the shadow of death." Their simultaneously grim and gruesome experiences are interwoven in this minutely detailed and atmospheric retelling, created by combining and comparing firsthand accounts and other sources. The characters are vividly re-created, from the expedition's self-interested leader, whom McKinlay called "a consummate liar and cheat," to the heroic ship's master, who struggled over 700 miles to organize a rescue. Supplemented by haunting and fascinating photographs, The Ice Master makes for harrowing and compulsive reading. This is a momentous story of the Arctic; of adventure, misadventure, and the heights of human endurance. But it is also a story of human failings and the waste of young lives, as poignant now as it was when it was big news in 1914. --Karen Tiley, Amazon.co.uk --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
The 1913 Canadian Arctic Expedition was perhaps the worst-planned arctic exploration in history. The captain declared the ship unfit for the voyage upon seeing it, and the crew consisted of young sailors who had no arctic experience, and scientists who would be better off teaching in a classroom than searching for an undiscovered arctic continent. Niven's first book, unlike the voyage, is well-researchedDand it's thorough. Screenwriter Niven captivates with her reconstruction of the doomed crew's efforts to survive the harshness of the polar winter, disease, hunger and their own clashing personalities. She expertly captures the feelings of the crew about their situation and about each other, and meticulously recounts the daily activities of the 25 crew members (11 survived), during their long stay as castaways on a small arctic Island. The story does read slowly at points, especially near the beginning of the book. The pace picks up as the book progresses, with the most exciting part being the heroic account of the captain's 700-mile trek from the crew's camp to Siberia in search of a ship that he could use to rescue his men.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
I don't believe I can add much to the other previous reviews but this is my take on this great book.
I would have liked to have seen an occasional map within the text to help me visualize their locations at different points in their journey. I read an e-book and so I'm not aware of the differences in a paper or hardback version. The research involved in writing this story must have been exhausting. Niven does a nice job of bringing her research to life. She goes into such great detail with the individual experiences that it feels like she brings their tragedy to life.
Now I just discovered Jennifer Niven's "The Ice Master, The Doomed 1913 Voyage of the KARLUK" and it's equal or better than the books I've just mentioned. There were times I thought the book was just too unbelievable until I went to her references at the back of the book. Niven's facts are many and proof of the time she put into getting the facts right.
It amazes me how people refuse to think in a time of disaster. During the unbelievable hard times on Wrangel Island, the inability to work for the good of everyone becomes a major factor to their survival. Hard times become even harder because several of the survivors think of nothing but themselve. And in spite of not having enough food, several of the men eat more than their share and keep hording food for themselves; not sharing with the people in the second tent, which includes a mother and her two daughters.
The unbearable journey across the dangerous ice fields added to the excitment of this story of survival. The building of a road through the mountains of ice buildup was interesting. Kataktovik's and Captain Bartlett's extraordinary 700-mile journey across the ice to Siberia to get help for the men stranded on Wrangel Island took courage and determination, especially in weather hovering below 30 degrees below zero, and on a dog sled.
This is a fabulous story, well told and with plenty of excitment. And toss in a possible murder.
This is a great book. Five stars does not do this book justice. This is a "must" book for those who enjoy great adventures on the high seas. It's a great page turner. You will have to know what's happening next.
I purchased this through Kendle books.