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Voyage to the North Star : a novel
Peter Nichols
Adult Fiction NICHOLS

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From Publishers' Weekly:

This is a first novel by the author of Sea Change, an account of his solo voyage across the Atlantic, and here, too, Nichols writes of the sea and ships with great feeling and accuracy. With his lean but telling style, he is as convincing on seafaring, navigation and weather as Hemingway is on big game hunting or bullfighting. His protagonist is Will Boden, a skilled seaman down on his luck in depression-era New York. In a moment of ill judgment, he once abandoned the ship he was captaining, and is now reduced to scraping a living, literally, on the waterfront. Along comes Carl Schenck, a wealthy industrialist who wants to ape his idol, Teddy Roosevelt, as a big game hunter, but fears it's all been done. He hits upon the notion to take the beautiful luxury yacht he has just acquired up into the Arctic to hunt for seal, bear, whatever he can find, and among the motley crew he assembles, including a skipper who is a fake British naval officer, is poor Will. Thus begins an adventure yarn alternately scary and hilarious, as Schenck takes ludicrous risks, the weather closes in and the ill-starred expedition begins to fall apart. Nichols shows an amazingly practiced hand for a fledgling novelist as he moves his large and vividly sketched cast through an ever more threatening series of disasters. The crowning event, brought on by Schenck himself, does stretch credulity, but otherwise the narrative tension is tight as a wire hawser, and Nichols's eye for the natural beauty and terrors of the icy North unerring. Only a rather perfunctory windup, which snatches dire defeat from the jaws of seeming victory, disappoints slightly. Still, this is an utterly gripping read, a tale that says a great deal about the mystique of men and the sea even as it entertains. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

This immensely satisfying first novel from memoirist Nichols (Sea Change: Alone Across the Atlantic in a Wooden Boat) begins in 1932 with wacky big-game hunter Carl Schenck gung ho to kill "prodigious" animals in the grand manner of Teddy RooseveltÄeven if he has to mount an Arctic safari to do soÄand ends with a perilous struggle for survival in the far north. In between, Schenck, a man who seemingly can buy anything and anyone he wants, prepares for the expedition that will pit him against Will Boden, a former sea captain who has lost everything dear to himÄboat, wife, and reputationÄand hungers only for a second chance. Nichols spins a powerful story crammed with historical details and biting social commentary, awe-inspiring for its knowledge of ships and the sea, deft in its depiction of eccentric figures and harrowing events, and exhilarating for the quality of writing and the story's moral depth. A gripping novel of blood lust, human folly, and desperate hope in the tradition of Melville, Conrad, and Jack London; highly recommended for both public and academic libraries.ÄRonnie H. Terpening, Univ. of Arizona, Tucson (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Will Boden

Carl Schenck
Big-game hunter.

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