cover image The Arctic Fury

The Arctic Fury

Greer Macallister. Sourcebooks, $16.99 trade paper (416p) ISBN 978-1-72821-569-3

Macallister (Woman 99) delivers an exciting if thin historical thriller based on real events. In 1850s Boston, adventurer Virginia Reeve is summoned by Lady Jane Franklin, who asks Virginia to lead a women’s expedition to the Arctic in order to find out what happened to her husband, Sir John Franklin, who disappeared there with his crew. Virginia agrees to lead the team of explorers, which includes a wealthy young woman, Caprice Collins, who undermines Virginia’s authority from the start. As Virginia and crew travel north, flashes forward find Virginia on trial for Caprice’s murder. Macallister pulls no punches depicting the grisly, dangerous realities of 19th-century Arctic journeys, and while tensions run high throughout to the shocking conclusion, the prose is run-of-the-mill (“She’d been through far worse, of course, but this always amazed her: how the worst pain, no matter how terrible, could recede into the past”) and the characters one-dimensional, with Virginia being cloyingly noble and brave, and Caprice coming across as a single-note cowardly interloper willing to step on anyone to get her way. While Macallister’s fans will enjoy, others will be disappointed. (Dec.)