"Our age is one of moral ambiguity and self-obsession. We should take time out to recognise that we have lost some of the commitment and dignity of this bygone age and try to empathise with the melancholy hearts behind the passion of our lead characters. I personally love the romance at the heart of this book. Not just the romance of love but the romance of adventure, of time and place. The romance of a golden age when all things were possible and dreams could come true. This is an elegant piece of debut writing. Jenny Bond sings a sad song but with a beautiful melody and a story well told."
A strikingly original and beautiful debut novel that weaves together truth and fiction to tell a story of love, adventure and longing.
Prior to the 20th century, over one thousand explorers had tried to reach the North Pole but only three men ever attempted the exploit in a hydrogen balloon. Swedish scientists S. A. Andrée, Nils Strindberg and Knut Frænkel set off in 1897. The journey ended in tragedy, and it seemed the world would never know how or where they met their deaths.
That was until August 1930, when a Norwegian scientific expedition discovered the bodies of two men and the remnants of the explorers’ final camp on a small island in the Arctic Ocean. The news made headlines around the world. A few weeks later a brash young journalist, Knut Stubbendorff, was sent to cover the story and he uncovered a third body among the scientific logs and debris. He also found journals filled with passionate love letters from Nils Strindberg to his beloved fiancée waiting in Stockholm, Anna Charlier.
Wanting to know more about the man who left his love to embark on a journey that was so clearly doomed, Stubbendorff was determined to find Anna Charlier, never considering that she might not want to be found.
In a search that reveals lost loves, deceit and long-buried secrets, Stubbendorff discovers the story that had been hidden for decades, and the people who had been concealing it.