The Ice Maiden by Sara Sheridan

Published: 2018 1. First lines. 2. Cover: Severn House 3. 1872 map of Antarctica [Public Domain] via Picryl 4. Fog background [Public Domain] via Pixabay 5. HM “Terror” [Public Domain] via Picryl 6. Tom Cream (Antarctic explorer) [Public Domain] via Picryl

It’s 1842, and Karina stows away on a British ship, hoping to be taken back to Europe from Deception Island in the South Atlantic Island. She is leaving her husband, a whaling captain, who has not returned from his latest expedition. Karina soon realises that Europe is not the destination as the ship heads south towards Antarctica. There she is engulfed in the unforgiving, and often brutal landscape of the Antarctic.

“”Well, the Antarctic is definitely not a lady … she’s a cold and knowing widow, if anything. An ice maiden.”

Not a straightforward historical novel, this story switches suddenly about halfway through to something quite different. With excellent story-telling skill, the author handles the change in mood and atmosphere deftly. I agree with Publishers Weekly, calling this a “poetic tale”.


“Karina could not help wonder if every ship in Her Majesty’s navy kept a store of flags to leave behind – territories claimed across the globe, colouring the charts that men like Ross were mapping as they went.”

“At sea, there was always an element of blue between the water and the sky but here if you turned away from the shore, the whiteness could overtake you, like stepping through a curtain. Like wrapping yourself in a frozen shroud.”

Author: Sara Sheridan

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