“It is difficult to read this engaging memoir without a smile on one’s face . . . moments of sheer joy . . . [a] mesmerizing and memorable book.” —The Economist
Chosen as a Book of the Year by the Scotsman, the Financial Times, and the Sunday Herald.
Gavin Francis fulfilled a lifetime’s ambition when he spent fourteen months as the base camp doctor at Halley, a profoundly isolated British research station on the Caird Coast of Antarctica—so remote that it is said to be easier to evacuate a casualty from the International Space Station than it is to bring someone out of Halley in winter.
Antarctica offered a year of unparalleled silence and solitude, with few distractions and a rare opportunity to live among emperor penguins, the only species truly at home in the Antarctic. Following penguins throughout the year—from a summer of perpetual sunshine to months of winter darkness—Francis explores the world of great beauty conjured from the simplest of elements, the hardship of below-zero temperatures and the unexpected comfort that the penguin community brings. Empire Antarctica is the story of one man’s fascination with the world’s loneliest continent, and the emperor penguins who weather the winter with him.
Includes maps and illustrations
“Part travelogue, part memoir, part natural history book, a fascinating, lyrical account of one of the strangest places on earth and its majestic inhabitants.” —Esquire
“Highly readable, enjoyable . . . the author writes vividly of auroras, clouds, stars, sunlight, darkness, ice and snow . . . A literate, stylish memoir of personal adventure rich in history, geography and science.” —Kirkus Reviews