The North Water
2 journalers for this copy...
by Ian McGuire
Behold the man: stinking, drunk, and brutal. Henry Drax is a harpooner on the Volunteer, a Yorkshire whaler bound for the rich hunting waters of the arctic circle. Also aboard for the first time is Patrick Sumner, an ex-army surgeon with a shattered reputation, no money, and no better option than to sail as the ship's medic on this violent, filthy, and ill-fated voyage.
In India, during the Siege of Delhi, Sumner thought he had experienced the depths to which man can stoop. He had hoped to find temporary respite on the Volunteer, but rest proves impossible with Drax on board. The discovery of something evil in the hold rouses Sumner to action. And as the confrontation between the two men plays out amid the freezing darkness of an arctic winter, the fateful question arises: who will survive until spring?
With savage, unstoppable momentum and the blackest wit, Ian McGuire's The North Water weaves a superlative story of humanity under the most extreme conditions.
McGuire paints a vivid and bleak picture aboard the Volunteer. And prior to the voyage, the area of London in which some of the whalers that board the Volunteer lurk before shipping out is shown as an area ripe with evil, sordidness, and murder. The true purpose of the voyage is kept secret from most of the crew but most fall victim to its outcome. The novel portrays all the vileness of the voyage including descriptions of sodomy, murder, bodily functions, and the slaughter of both seals and whales.
Most everything in the novel pulls the reader into the world of 19th century whaling. The setting, the characters and dialogue, along with the plot and its twists really draw you into this one. But this is much more than a mere action sea adventure. I would highly recommend this one but be prepared for a shocking story.
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
Later: Definitely violent and claustrophobic - though a smaller percentage of the story took place stranded in the ice than I'd expected. The author conveys the grit and stink and vileness of his characters far too well! I felt for poor Sumner, but his own demons gave him almost as much trouble as the utterly heinous Drax.
I admit I was a bit disappointed at the reason behind the main plot; sure, it was logical under the circumstances, but I wanted something more... I dunno, emotional? Still, it's an evocative story, even if it puts the reader in places and situations that are profoundly uncomfortable!
WILD RELEASE NOTES: