Chasing the Light, by Jesse Blackadder

This was the moment, after her twenty patient years, after her cheerful mothering, after her steadfast support, that he’d remember the adventurous woman he’d married, and the promise he’d made her. She took a deep breath, drawing in air to the bottom of her lungs, and tried to imagine an even deeper cold.
‘I suppose we’ll go on Norvegia?’ she asked.
‘Hjalmar said Norvegia tossed like a tin toy in the storms last year,’ Lars said. ‘I don’t want to take any risks. I’ll go on Thorshavn.’
It took a moment for his use of the singular to sink in. ‘You couldn’t go without me,’ she said.

Ingrid Christensen has always longed to visit Antarctica, but her husband Lars, a Norwegian whaling magnate, is reluctant to take her, until he realises that she could be the first woman to set foot there, a great honour for both of them, and for Norway. Soon Ingrid is finally southward bound, but she is not the only woman on board. Her travelling companion is Mathilde Wegger, a grieving widow who has been forced onto the trip by her scheming in-laws. The third woman is Lillemor Rachlew, a photographer who has cheated to get on-board and is determined to beat both of the others as the first woman to land on the frozen continent.

The three women could be friends, but they are very different, and they are competing for more than the honour of being first to land in Antarctica.They must also face the dangers of their journey, the horrors of seeing whaling enterprises for themselves, and the vagaries of the weather and of fate.

Chasing the Light is a fascinating tale based on the story of the first woman to set foot in Antarctica. Whilst a wonderful insight into the lives and times of the women who first ventured to Antarctica, it is also a marvellous study of human relationships and the lengths people will go to to meet their personal goals, as well as the ways those dreams can be shaped and altered by life experience and changed perspectives. The three women are as different as they are each in their own way determined, and readers will find each alternately endearing and frustrating. The twists and turns of their journey are fascinating and the outcome unexpected.

Chasing the Light: A Novel of Antarctica

Chasing the Light: A Novel of Antarctica, by Jesse Blackadder
Fourth Estate, 2013
ISBN 9780732296049

Available from good bookstores or here.

Thirst, by L.A. Larkin

‘It’s Dave.’ His choked words were absorbed by the ice walls. Luke remembered his survival training. If you fall into a narrow crevasse like this one, it’s hard to be heard from the outside. He went to use his radio and then remembered it didn’t work. He tried shouting but his voice was a hoarse whisper, his throat dry, as if he had laryngitis. ‘Found Dave.’
‘Alive? asked Blue.


Luke Searle loves his work in Antarctica. It may be the coldest, most isolated place on earth, but that suits him just fine, and studying the glaciers is fascinating. But his peace is shattered when teammates start dying. Antarctica has resources that are in short supply in the rest of the world, and a ruthless mercenary is determined to tap into them, no matter what the cost. Luke must stay alive long enough to stop him.

Thirst is an action-packed thriller set in the fascinating landscape of Antarctica in a near-future where water has become increasingly scarce along with other natural resources. The gripping sequence of events, along with an absorbing cast of characters, makes for a page-turning read with twists aplenty. The use of the countdown format over the 6 days the events take place highlights their urgency and pace, and the focus on environmental issues is educative but not overtly so, giving the reader food for thought.

A gripping read.

Thirst, by LA Larkin
Pier 9, an imprint of Murdoch Books, 2012
ISBN 9781741967890

Available in good bookstores or online.

Antarctic Close-Up, by Hazel Edwards

Dad warned me, but … I just wanted to look inside the telescope. An idea came to me: the telescope and the webcam both let you see things better. What if I put the old technology and the new technology together?

John likes to fiddle with things, which sometimes lands him in trouble. But when he connects a broken webcam to a telescope which was once used in the Antarctic, he gets a surprise. Through the webcam, history comes alive on his dad’s laptop. Now John and his friend Peter are witnessing the events of an expedition that took place nearly a hundred years ago.

Antarctic Close-Up is part historical novel, part fantasy adventure, with most of the action taking place in the present, where John and Peter have access to the telescope at his father’s auction business. Young readers will enjoy this novel approach to examining history, with John and Peter witnessing the expedition through the webcam and the screen of the laptop.

Part of the Making Tracks series, Antarctic Close-Up offers a unique perspective on Antarctic history to young readers.

Antarctic Close-Up, by Hazel Edwards
National Museum of Australia Press, 2007