Thaw

Dennis Glover

Thaw
Format
Paperback
Publisher
Black Inc.
Country
Australia
Published
1 August 2023
Pages
320
ISBN
9781760644451

Thaw

Dennis Glover

Some secrets won't stay buried.

'Scott's lost expedition was still here, she thought - frozen, preserved, waiting to be rescued from the thaw. The truth lay beneath the surface, and she was going to bring it up.'

In 1912, five British explorers struggle across the freezing Antarctic landscape, through howling winds and plummeting temperatures, seeking the safety of their camp.

Today, as the world's ice sheets begin to melt and surrender their secrets, renowned glacial archaeologist Missy Simpson works to discover the true cause of the explorers' deaths - a subject that has intrigued researchers for more than a century.

Her colleague, Cambridge professor Jim Hunter, is working on his own scientific mysteries - and is willing to risk everything to solve them.

In hallowed halls of learning and on the icy polar plateau, these risk-takers must grapple with the unfathomable power of the natural world and the dramatically changing weather - while navigating their own complicated relationships.

Drawn from the pages of history and cutting-edge science, Thaw is a gripping read that will forever change how you see the frozen continent - and those who seek to conquer it.

Review

At the dawn of the 20th century, Antarctica was a place of peril, where explorers braved hypothermia, isolation and death in search of knowledge and fame, long before science and technology allowed us a more comfortable existence on the ice. Now, a century later, as temperatures rise and the ice begins to melt, Antarctica has become that old place of danger again, except the peril is now global and the knowledge sought even more vital. It is this juxtaposition which animates Dennis Glover’s Thaw, a novel preoccupied with the power of the climate and the mysteries of the past.

The story revolves around the ill-fated expedition of British explorer Robert Falcon Scott, whose party lost the race to the South Pole and tragically perished on the return journey. Glover weaves together a gripping and thoroughly researched account of the disaster with a fictional narrative following ‘Missy’ Simpson, climate activist and granddaughter of George Simpson, the expedition’s meteorologist, as she investigates the tragedy and her grandfather’s failure to predict the impossibly harsh weather that doomed the expedition. The answers she needs come both from the archive, as her research for a biography on her grandfather brings her face to face with his contested legacy, as well as from Antarctica itself, as global melting begins to uncover what had previously been lost under the ice.

Glover’s writing is always engaging, whether in the grim progression of the historical chapters, conveying the truly horrific force of the cold, or in the playful contemporary chapters where charming characters embark on an adventure from the halls of Cambridge to the polar plateau. These wildly different tones often threaten to clash and undermine each other, but Glover threads the needle expertly, finding fun in the hardship and vice versa. Wherever the story goes, he never loses focus on the story’s central themes: failure, legacy, and our planet’s awesome, unpredictable, and intractable climate.

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