LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2016
A NEW YORK TIMES TOP TEN NOTABLE BOOK 2016
SHORTLISTED FOR THE LA TIMES BOOK PRIZE 2017
-- Winner of the RSL Encore Award 2017 --
A ship sets sail with a killer on board . . .
1859. A man joins a whaling ship bound for the Arctic Circle. Having left the British Army with his reputation in tatters, Patrick Sumner has little option but to accept the position of ship's surgeon on this ill-fated voyage. But when, deep into the journey, a cabin boy is discovered brutally killed, Sumner finds himself forced to act. Soon he will face an evil even greater than he had encountered at the siege of Delhi, in the shape of Henry Drax: harpooner, murderer, monster . . .
'A tour de force' Hilary Mantel
'Riveting and darkly brilliant' Colm Tóibín
McGuire's novel is a dark, brilliant yarn set on a 19th-century Yorkshire whaler in the dead of winter. An ex-army surgeon named Patrick Sumner, his reputation ruined by an ignoble incident in wartime India, seeks to escape his past by shipping out as doctor on the whaling ship Volunteer, bound for the Arctic Circle. But the voyage to the waters north of the British Isle is doomed from the beginning: the men responsible for the ship have no intention of bringing it back in one piece. And if that weren't enough, a debauched murderer named Henry Drax is aboard. The harpooners meet with some success while at sea, whaling, sealing, and capturing a bear cub, but a test of wills begins after the mutilated body of a cabin boy is discovered below deck in a cask used to store minced-up whale blubber. Sumner challenges the suspected culprit, violence ensues, and soon the ship is without leadership. The frozen seas threaten to cripple the ship, and what's left of the crew tries desperately to survive the worst of the winter trapped in the ice. There is no light, no letup in this gruesome tale, so there is great significance in the rare but moving acts of kindness and camaraderie between these men in peril. An amazing journey.
Enjoyed it, definitely influenced by Jack London and the sea wolf book which is one of my favourites. Some great descriptive writing and cringe worthy moments. Would recommend for wanna be adventurers tethered in the real world.