Stef Penney - Under a Pole Star - Quercus

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Under a Pole Star

Shortlisted for the 2017 Costa Novel Award

By Stef Penney

  • Paperback
  • £14.99

An epic historical novel from the author of the Costa-winning The Tenderness of Wolves, for fans of Donna Tartt, Eowyn Ivey, Sarah Perry and Jessie Burton


'A dazzling tale of romance and survival' (Guardian)

Follow the path to the freezing north. Follow your ambition. Follow your heart

Flora Mackie was twelve when she first crossed the Arctic Circle on her father's whaling ship. Now she is returning to the frozen seas as head of her own expedition of exploration.

Jakob de Beyn was raised in Manhattan but his yearning for new horizons leads him to the Arctic as part of a rival expedition. When he and Flora meet there is an instant connection that slowly builds to become an all-consuming love. The affair survives the growing tensions between the two groups. Then, after one last glorious summer on the Greenland coast, Jakob joins his leader on an extended trip into the interior, with devastating results.

The stark beauty of the Arctic, where pack ice can crush a ship like an eggshell, and the empty sweep of the tundra, alternately a snow-muffled wasteland and an unexpectedly gentle meadow, are vividly evoked. Against this backdrop Stef Penney weaves an irresistible love story, a compelling look at the dark side of the golden age of exploration, and a mystery that Flora, returning one last time to the North Pole as an old woman, will finally lay to rest.

Biographical Notes

Stef Penney grew up in Edinburgh. She has degrees in Philosophy and Theology and Film and TV, and was selected for the Carlton Television New Writers Scheme and has since written and directed two short films. She is the author of The Tenderness of Wolves and The Invisible Ones.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781786481177
  • Publication date: 03 Nov 2016
  • Page count: 608
  • Imprint: Quercus
Penney works hard to fill her canvas with colour and conviction — Sunday Times
A terrific and beautifully written yarn that will make readers yearn to travel and fall in love in a cold climate — The Times
It is a tribute to Penney's superlative descriptive skills that the book's erotic charge is so startlingly effective, and that her icy landscapes cast such a lasting, almost hallucinatory spell. This combination is the true rocket fuel of Under a Pole Star, and what makes it resonate long after the Snow Queen has divulged her long-held secret — Guardian
Curl up with this stunningly evocative tale about an intrepid young female explorer. As immersive as it is mesmerising, this is a novel that you won't ever forget — Heat
This . . . powerful drama is played out against a landscape that dominates [Penney's] imagination — Daily Mail
A beautifully written tale, elegant and well-observed, full of powerful descriptions of a dazzling landscape — Sunday Express
This is an epic love story set against the forbidding beauty of snow meadows. A perfect winter read — Red Magazine
What has marked Penney out from the start is her ability to make her extensive historical research come alive — Sunday Herald
A suspenseful epic, offering a leitmotif of constant unease . . . impressive — Guardian
Unquestionably atmospheric, evocative and . . . rewarding — Independent on Sunday
A tense and delicately written thriller — Observer
A remarkable literary debut . . . brilliantly assured, subtly written — Scotsman
Penney's evocation of the frozen lands of northern Canada couldn't ring truer if she'd spent months wandering through the land with nothing but a pack of huskies and a native tracker for company — Guardian
Within the first fifty pages I was completely in love. It is a testimony to the power of good writing that it can present you with a world that you think you know nothing about, but by the end of [the book] you feel you own it — Armando Iannucci
This subtle and superb novel bring the freezing landscape of the Canadian woods to such vivid life that the landscape itself becomes a strong character within the story — Crimesquad
An absorbing and stylish mystery — Glasgow Herald
A first-rate gripper with a notably sensual and well as psychological understanding of its main characters — Globe and Mail