Under a Pole Star
Shortlisted for the 2017 Costa Novel Award
By Stef Penney
Read by Cathleen McCarron and Thomas Judd
A panoramic historical epic and an unforgettable love story from the author of the Costa-winning The Tenderness of Wolves, for fans of Sarah Perry, Jessie Burton and Donna Tartt
COSTA WINNING AUTHOR Stef Penney returns to the wild Arctic setting she brought so vividly to life in THE TENDERNESS OF WOLVES, in an epic story of ambition, perseverance and love against the odds. Perfect for fans of TO THE BRIGHT EDGE OF THE WORLD and THE ESSEX SERPENT. 'A supreme storyteller' Sunday Times
Flora Mackie first crossed the Arctic Circle at the age of twelve. In 1889, the whaler's daughter from Dundee - dubbed by the press 'The Snow Queen' - sets out to become a scientist and explorer. She struggles to be taken seriously but determination and chance lead her back to northern Greenland at the head of a British expedition, despite the many who believe that a young woman has no place in this harsh world of men.
Geologist Jakob de Beyn was raised in Manhattan. Yearning for wider horizons, he joins a rival expedition, led by the furiously driven Lester Armitage. When Jakob and Flora's paths cross, it is a fateful meeting.
All three become obsessed with the north, a place where violent extremes exist side by side: perpetual night and endless day; frozen seas and coastal meadows; heroism and lies. Armitage's ruthless desire to be the true leader of polar discovery takes him and his men on a mission whose tragic outcome will reverberate for years to come.
Set against the stark, timeless beauty of northern Greenland, and fin-de-siècle New York and London, Under a Pole Star is a compelling look at the dark side of the 'golden age' of exploration, a study of the corrosive power of ambition, and an epic, incendiary love story. It shows that sometimes you have to travel to the furthest edge of the world in order to find your true place in it.
(P)2016 WF Howes Ltd
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.
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- Publication date:
03 Nov 2016
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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