The North Water by Ian McGuire

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The North Water by Ian McGuire
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The North Water 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, but now, trapped in the wooden belly of the ship with Drax, he encounters pure evil and is forced to act. As the true purposes of the expedition become clearer, the confrontation between the two men plays out amid the freezing darkness of an arctic winter.

The North Water, Ian McGuire’s savage new novel about a 19th-century Arctic whaling expedition, is a great white shark of a book―swift, terrifying, relentless and unstoppable….Mr. McGuire is such a natural storyteller―and recounts his tale here with such authority and verve―that The North Water swiftly immerses the reader in a fully imagined world…..He has written an allusion-filled novel that still manages to feel original, a violent tale of struggle and survival in a cinematically beautiful landscape.”―Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

The North Water by Ian McGuire is one of The New York Times Book Review‘s 10 Best Books of the Year.