'A ripping good adventure yarn with a thoroughly admirable heroine, a suitably black-hearted villain and such vivid descriptions of the sheer agony and awfulness of Antarctica you'll be reaching for the central heating switch as you read.' Irish Independent
Matt Dickinson is a film-maker and writer, the author of two highly successful books, one of which recalled his triumph on Everest which coincided with the disastrous storm which claimed many lives.
All good tales of Antarctic adventuring, whether fiction or nonfiction, feature a murderously difficult trek across a boundless expanse of frozen icescape. Dickinson's foray into the genre is no exception. Famed British explorer Julian Fitzgerald and Norwegian Carl Norland, his partner, are attempting to walk across Antarctica at its broadest point and have fallen short of the mark by 80 miles. When the plane sent to rescue them crashes, their only hope for salvation is the scientific station Capricorn, some 300 miles away. Capricorn is a drilling base headed by scientist Lauren Burgess, who, along with her four-person team, has made a startling discovery in a fresh water lake that lies 2,000 feet under the ice beneath the base. Lauren rushes off with love-interest Sean and rescues the two explorers, but winter sets in, preventing evacuation, and Fitzgerald is soon revealed to be a black-hearted villain plotting a triumphant return to England as the hero of the expedition-even if he has to kill everyone else in the process. Norland dies in a disastrous fire that destroys the base, forcing the team, hounded by a now insane, ax-wielding, snowmobile-mounted Fitzgerald, to trek back to the site of the original plane crash, where there is a transmitter. Dickinson (The Other Side of Everest) certainly knows his stuff, having personally cheated death on both Everest and the Antarctic ice. Readers unfamiliar with the stories of real Arctic explorers-Shackleton, Scott, Byrd, etc.-will find this a more exciting read than those already acquainted with the fascinating true life stories. (Dec.) Forecast: Dickinson's nonfiction fans should garner him decent numbers, but the rather unoriginal premise will probably preclude bestselling success. Armchair Arctic explorers interested in a more literary take should be steered by booksellers to Ben Jones's The Rope Eater, also published in December. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.