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The Ice Child

McGregor, Elizabeth

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ISBN 10: 0525945679 / ISBN 13: 9780525945673
Published by Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated, New York, NY, U.S.A., 2001
Condition: Fine Hardcover
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FINE/FINE unread copy protected by Archival Brodart Cover. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 000566

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Ice Child

Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated, New York, NY, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 2001

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Edition: First Edition.

About this title


When Jo Harper falls in love with a maverick archaeologist, Doug Marshall, she also falls into Doug's obsession with one of history's greatest mysteries of exploration: one hundred fifty years ago, Sir John Franklin and his crew of one hundred twenty men sailed two ships to the Arctic on a surveying trip and were never seen again. Doug has spent his entire life in search of an answer to what happened to them, sacrificing his first marriage and his relationship with his son, John, along the way. But as he and Jo plan their future together, a shocking accident forever changes their lives, leaving them shattered and unable to pick up the pieces.

Devastated by the accident, John goes into self-imposed hiding. Jo, feeling abandoned, is confronted by the unthinkable-her young son, Sam, has a life-threatening disease and his only hope of survival lies with John, as he is a match for a bone marrow transplant. Desperate to find John in order to save her son, Jo cannot find anyone who can reach him. But soon she learns that John's fate is curiously tied to the Franklin Expedition. Haunted by the despair of those men lost in the Expedition and his own past, John has ventured into the ice floes of the Arctic in search of answers to what happened to Franklin's crew and to his own life. Unbeknownst to him, a frantic search is on, not only to save his life, but the life of a brother he doesn't know is in jeopardy.


There are writers who meticulously research their subject but reveal only the tip of the iceberg to their readers. Then there's Elizabeth McGregor. It's not that she skimps on research--on the contrary, she has a very large iceberg of information at her disposal. But she doesn't hide a bit of it below the surface, and the result is a truly epic novel that glories in the details of two worlds: Victorian Arctic exploration and modern medicine.

Jo Harper is a contemporary London journalist saddled by her editor with a story she doesn't want. Namely: Douglas Marshall, an eminent archaeologist, has set out on a trek to research the (real-life) Franklin expedition, which disappeared more than a century ago during a hopeless search for the Northwest Passage. Now Marshall has gone missing too. In the course of her preliminary spadework, Jo finds an archived BBC program wherein Marshall describes the folly of Franklin's endeavor:

Just a few short miles of ice. What was that to the greediest colonizing nation in the world? What were the months of darkness, and the strongest sea currents on the planet? The finest nautical minds of the age talked about it as if it were an afternoon jaunt, brushing aside a few natives, bears, and bits of tundra.
McGregor alternates Jo's story with a running account of the Franklin expedition, narrated by a 16-year-old sailor named Gus. Meanwhile, Marshall is found, and he and Jo pursue a clearly doomed romance. When their child is born with a rare blood disease, the distraught mother commissions a modern-day Arctic expedition to save the baby. Whether her characters are in the tundra or a hospital ward, McGregor's narrative has the momentum of a ship under full sail. Instead of bogging the book down, the carefully accumulated details propel it forward. Here is a large, complicated, lovingly made adventure that reads as easily, and as irresistibly, as a romance. --Claire Dederer

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