Under a Pole Star

  • by Stef Penney
  • Narrated by Cathleen McCarron, Thomas Judd
  • 20 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Costa-winning author Stef Penney returns to the wild Arctic setting she brought so vividly to life in The Tenderness of Wolves in an epic story of ambition, perseverance and love against the odds. Perfect for fans of To the Bright Edge of the World and The Essex Serpent.
Flora Mackie first crossed the Arctic Circle at the age of 12. In 1889 the whaler's daughter from Dundee - dubbed by the press 'The Snow Queen' - sets out to become a scientist and explorer. She struggles to be taken seriously, but determination and chance lead her back to Northern Greenland at the head of a British expedition despite the many who believe that a young woman has no place in this harsh world of men.
Geologist Jakob de Beyn was raised in Manhattan. Yearning for wider horizons, he joins a rival expedition led by the furiously driven Lester Armitage. When Jakob and Flora's paths cross, it is a fateful meeting. All three become obsessed with the north, a place where violent extremes exist side by side: perpetual night and endless day; frozen seas and coastal meadows; heroism and lies. Armitage's ruthless desire to be the true leader of polar discovery takes him and his men on a mission whose tragic outcome will reverberate for years to come.
Set against the stark, timeless beauty of Northern Greenland and fin-de-siècle New York and London, Under a Pole Star is a compelling look at the dark side of the golden age of exploration, a study of the corrosive power of ambition and an epic, incendiary love story. It shows that sometimes you have to travel to the furthest edge of the world in order to find your true place in it.


What the Critics Say

"A supreme storyteller." (Sunday Times)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


What did you like most about Under a Pole Star?

The main character Flora is a brilliant creation.

What did you like best about this story?

I like the chronicle approach - building a picture of a whole human life from start to finish, I also loved the depiction of Flora's relationships with other people, particularly the Inuit people.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

One scene near the end made me cry.

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- Úna

Another memorable story.

After 'The Tenderness of Wolves' and 'The Invisible Ones' Steff Penny has won my trust as a storyteller. I would read anything she writes and there is lots to admire about exploration and hardship and the native Greenlanders but I was not gripped at the start.The story develops into a love story stretching from London and New York to the Arctic. It is written with a subtle intensity and completeness that includes some very graphic descriptions of intimacy. The power of these scenes and how they contrast with the society of the time is undeniable and is realised in the very satisfying final chapters when some of the tension is built on our knowledge of them. My favorite of Ms Penny's novels remains 'The Invisible Ones' but here is another excellent book full of interesting and well drawn people. It is almost a week since i finished it and I still think of the final scenes.
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- John

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-11-2016
  • Publisher: Quercus