Coming of age in the Arctic
Brendan Kane is a small town New England boy driven out into the world by the incessant prodding of a restless heart. In the spring of his 17th year, feeling no allegiance to his family or boyhood home, he turns his back on them forever and wanders south towards the sea. He passes through the draft riots in New York City and the carnage and chaos of the Civil War, eventually accepting a cryptic invitation to serve aboard a vessel with an undisclosed mission. As he becomes acquainted with the patchwork pasts of his fellow crewmen and the extraordinary ambitions of their eccentric financier, Brendan is plunged into a journey of survival and self-discovery that takes him to the bitter twilight of the Arctic Circle. There, Brendan wrestles with the powerful and mysterious yearnings of his heart, as he and his shipmates struggle to endure the numbing cold and perilous circumstances of Arctic exploration. In this engaging debut novel, Ben Jones deftly intertwines a compelling adventure plot with a young man's endeavor to understand his place in the world. Jones presents the Arctic in poetic detail, coupling his descriptions of the desolate landscape with an impressive knowledge of both the region and the period. His prose is written with skill and subtlety and yields a narrative in which the shifting arctic floes echo the tumultuous evolution of Brendan's understanding of himself. Campbell Palfrey writes from Nashville.