Publication Date 24 01 2022
In the wake of the First World War, Jonathan Morgan stows away on an Antarctic expedition, determined to find his rightful place in the world of men. Aboard the expeditionary ship of his hero, the world-famous explorer James “Australis” Randall, Jonathan may live as his true self―and true gender―and have the adventures he has always been denied. But not all is smooth sailing: the war casts its long shadow over them all, and grief, guilt, and mistrust skulk among the explorers.
When disaster strikes in Antarctica’s frozen Weddell Sea, the men must take to the land and overwinter somewhere which immediately seems both eerie and wrong; a place not marked on any of their part-drawn maps of the vast white continent. Now completely isolated, Randall’s expedition has no ability to contact the outside world. And no one is coming to rescue them.
In the freezing darkness of the Polar night, where the aurora creeps across the sky, something terrible has been waiting to lure them out into its deadly landscape… As the harsh Antarctic winter descends, this supernatural force will prey on their deepest desires and deepest fears to pick them off one by one.
It is up to Jonathan to overcome his own ghosts before he and the expedition are utterly destroyed.
Five Star Review
Accomplished prose conjures up rich imagery that transports us to the end of the First World War. We meet Jonathan. Assigned female at birth, he faces challenges to behave in a certain way and his choices are constrained by his family's expectations. But when a telegram arrives and declares his brothers dead, Jonathan decides to run away. Free of those limitations, he is able to live as his true self and find his own adventures.
At times reminiscent of The Terror by Dan Simmons for its polar landscape and cruel icy conditions, we are plunged into Jonathan’s perilous life on board the Fortitude as he joins the crew’s Antarctic expedition.
The tension builds steadily throughout the narrative, escalating into a harrowing tale of survival and betrayal. But how real are the ghosts that surround them? This is an intelligent twist on the locked room trope that is currently in favour.
A compelling and at times brutal story that is perfect for fans of Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights and Michelle Paver’s Thin Air.