Book Review: The Ice Master by Jennifer Niven

Book Review: The Ice Master by Jennifer Niven

*Contains no spoilers

This is the ultimate Arctic voyage novel, based on real events. The 1913 Canadian voyage on the Karluk was the worst planned arctic mission in history. The captain declared the boat unsuitable on seeing it and the crew consisted of a rag-tag bunch of wannabes with no experience in Arctic weather. The scientists on the voyage had never stepped out of a classroom.

The scientific party on the doomed Karluk

This is Jennifer Niven’s first book and in terms of language, pacing, historical research and creating larger-than-life characters on board the ship, she has done an incredible job.

In her hands, this historical account reads like a first-rate novel and thunders along at a cracking pace. It’s really one of the better books I have read in a long time. I have never read anything in this genre before – i.e. Arctic voyages, but after reading this, I could see how these kinds of books could become addictive.

Niven deftly and expertly crafts the narrative including how the crew manage to survive in the harsh polar winter, with plenty of evocative descriptions of the quality of the wind and the cracking forboding nature of the ice breaking around them, as the Karluk is stranded and floating on a wayward ice floe.

I won’t give away any of the story here. This is really worth getting and reading if you want to envelope yourself in pure escapism of a tension-filled thriller in an inhospitable land, all from the warmth and comfort of your own sofa.  


Published by Content Catnip

Content Catnip is a quirky internet wunderkammer written by an Intergalactic Space Māori named Content Catnip. Join me as I meander through the quirky and curious aspects of history, indigenous spirituality, the natural world, animals, art, storytelling, books, philosophy, travel, Māori culture and loads more.

13 thoughts on “Book Review: The Ice Master by Jennifer Niven

    1. Yes, there’s definitely a solemn sense of seriousness to them before they faced their mission. I love the hats too, I’m not sure why men stopped wearing hats like this, it definitely makes them look handsome, hopefully this fashion trend comes full circle.


    1. Yeah I pretty much got rid of Netflix lately, so I spend a lot of my free time just reading, I hope you can find time to read, what about audiobooks? You can do other things and listen at the same time, I find this is a pretty amazing way of reading books as well as exercising or cleaning.


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