The Ice, by Laline Paull
Published by Harper Collins, 28th December 2017
Genres: Thriller, Science fiction
Source: Borrowed (library)
A frozen corpse emerges from a glacier under the startled eye of a cruise ship full of tourists. The body is quickly identified as Tom Harding, who was lost in an accident over three years ago. Tom’s friend Sean survived the accident but has lived with the uncertainties and guilt ever since. But what other secrets lie hidden in this cold and unpredictable place?
In a near-future where the Transpolar shipping route is open, countries and businessman jostle for control over the Arctic. Sean has always loved being in the centre of all of this, and it has made him a very rich man. But as the inquest into Tom’s death begins, Sean must face up to that terrible day three years ago, as well as the reality of some of his choices. The Arctic ice is thinning, but how deep do the lies go?
Having previously read Paull’s debut novel The Bees, I was excited to discover this other book of hers in my local library. Whilst the genre and style are completely different, I once again really enjoyed the writing and was instantly captivated by the story.
The mystery surrounding what exactly happened in that ice cave was nail-biting, and I just had to keep reading to find out. There is so much uncertainty throughout the book as to who can be trusted and who is telling the truth. It was very suspenseful right up to the end and I was not expecting some of the final details revealed.
I really appreciated that the focus of this book was also on the state of the Arctic. Currently, the Transpolar Route discussed in this book is not a navigable shipping route. But it is estimated that by the middle of this century it could be. Opening up the way for much quicker shipping and much more development. This spells disaster for the wildlife of the Arctic. The plight of the polar bears is shown in this book and it is very scary to consider how close we are to this actually happening.
Another really interesting aspect of this book are the inserts. Between chapters, there are passages from various Arctic explorer’s journals, Inuit stories and legends, and other texts. These were really very interesting and added another, historical, aspect to this story set in the near future.
My rating: 4/5