Nasty, brutish and brilliant

9781627795944The North Water by Ian McGuire, Henry Holt, coming out March 15th 2016 – Review by Shona

I have a strange fascination with ill-assorted bands of men setting out for frozen parts in flimsy wooden ships, and The North Water is a fine addition to this (rather specialized) genre. As the whaler, Volunteer, moves closer to the Arctic Circle, the crew hope to hunt down a fortune in the whale-rich waters. But the ship’s owner and captain have a different plan, and the murderer hiding on board has yet another. This is a fascinating and thrilling book in which the concept of ‘good’ seems utterly lost in a world where survival is everything. But what does survival really mean? The brutality is high and morality low, the filth tangible and all the characters complex in this compelling novel.

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