under a pole star

stef penney

Shortlist, 2017 Costa Novel Award

2017 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize

Richard & Judy Book Club selection

UK paperback

Flora Mackie first crosses the Arctic Circle at the age of twelve, and falls in love with the land a people of the far north. In 1889, the whaler’s daughter from Dundee sets out to become a scientist and explorer. She struggles to be taken seriously, but determination and chance take her back to northern Greenland at the head of a British expedition, defying the expectations of those who believe a woman has no place in that world.

Yearning for wider horizons, American geologist Jakob de Beyn joins a rival expedition led by the furiously driven Lester Armitage. When the path of the two expeditions meet, the lives of all three become inextricably intertwined. 

All are obsessed with the land under the pole star, a place where violent extremes exist side by side: perpetual night and endless day; frozen seas and coastal meadows; warring egos and consuming passion; heroism and lies. It exerts a strange, maddening pull on those trying to make their mark on its vast expanses – a pursuit of glory whose outcome will reverberate for years to come.