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Under a Pole Star: Shortlisted for the 2017 Costa Novel Award

Stef Penney

8 Reviews

Rated 0

Fiction, Historical fiction

An epic historical novel from the author of the Costa-winning THE TENDERNESS OF WOLVES, for fans of Donna Tartt, Eowyn Ivey, Sarah Perry and Jessie Burton.

Stef Penney, COSTA WINNING AUTHOR of THE TENDERNESS OF WOLVES, returns to the Arctic with 'A dazzling tale of romance and survival' (Guardian.) Perfect for fans of THE ESSEX SERPENT and TO THE BRIGHT EDGE OF THE WORLD.

'[Penney writes] with a persuasive and appealing hunger . . . there is a touch of Donna Tartt here' The Times


'In the masterfully evoked Arctic landscape and in her depictions of sex . . . she finds her true, dazzling stride' Guardian

Flora Mackie first crossed the Arctic Circle at the age of twelve. 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-siecle 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.

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Praise for Under a Pole Star: Shortlisted for the 2017 Costa Novel Award

  • Penney works hard to fill her canvas with colour and conviction - Sunday Times

  • A terrific and beautifully written yarn that will make readers yearn to travel and fall in love in a cold climate - The Times

  • It is a tribute to Penney's superlative descriptive skills that the book's erotic charge is so startlingly effective, and that her icy landscapes cast such a lasting, almost hallucinatory spell. This combination is the true rocket fuel of Under a Pole Star, and what makes it resonate long after the Snow Queen has divulged her long-held secret - Guardian

  • Curl up with this stunningly evocative tale about an intrepid young female explorer. As immersive as it is mesmerising, this is a novel that you won't ever forget - Heat

  • This . . . powerful drama is played out against a landscape that dominates [Penney's] imagination - Daily Mail

  • A beautifully written tale, elegant and well-observed, full of powerful descriptions of a dazzling landscape - Sunday Express

  • This is an epic love story set against the forbidding beauty of snow meadows. A perfect winter read - Red Magazine

  • What has marked Penney out from the start is her ability to make her extensive historical research come alive - Sunday Herald

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Stef Penney

Stef Penney grew up in Edinburgh. She has degrees in Philosophy and Theology and Film and TV, and was selected for the Carlton Television New Writers Scheme and has since written and directed two short films. She is the author of The Tenderness of Wolves and The Invisible Ones.

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