As the Second World War brews across Europe, Jack Miller seizes an opportunity to escape London, where he lives in poverty and loneliness. He joins an Arctic expedition as a wireless operator, and whilst he’s conscious of the class differences between himself and his crewmates, they quickly warm to each other. So when Jack ends up being the only man left standing at their secluded base on Gruhuken, he feels his solitude keenly. As the last of the sun dips behind the horizon, Jack faces four months of darkness, with no one but his team of huskies to keep him company. At least, that’s what he thinks. In fact, someone, or something, is close by…
It’s real. I saw it.
It isn’t alive.
This was a surprisingly spooky gem of a book. I began with trepidation after reading mixed reviews and it took me a while to warm to Jack – what kind of person hates dogs that much? – but I soon came around to him. The atmosphere and setting were spot on and made the ghost story even more chilling, literally. I felt the diary structure didn’t quite work – I would have preferred a more traditional narrative style but it didn’t detract too much from my enjoyment of the novel. The exploration of class differences was interesting, I thought the ending was fine but a little anti-climatic. It just seemed to happen very quickly. I could have done with a few more chapters to ramp up the tension. My take away from this book is that I’d love to read more thrillers or ghostly tales in an arctic setting – the atmosphere is perfect for spooky stories and this was a great start.
Rating: 4 / 5 stars
Read for the NEWTs Magical Readathon. Class: Ancient Runes. Grade: E.