Empire of Ice and Stone

The Disastrous and Heroic Voyage of the Karluk

You must sign in to see if this title is available for request.
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app

1
To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add kindle@netgalley.com as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
2
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 06 Dec 2022 | Archive Date 20 Dec 2022

Talking about this book? Use #EmpireOfIceAndStone #NetGalley. More hashtag tips!


Description

The true, harrowing story of the ill-fated 1913 Canadian Arctic Expedition and the two men who came to define it.

In the summer of 1913, the wooden-hulled brigantine Karluk departed Canada for the Arctic Ocean. At the helm was Captain Bob Bartlett, considered the world’s greatest living ice navigator. The expedition’s visionary leader was a flamboyant impresario named Vilhjalmur Stefansson hungry for fame.

Just six weeks after the Karluk departed, giant ice floes closed in around her. As the ship became icebound, Stefansson disembarked with five companions and struck out on what he claimed was a 10-day caribou hunting trip. Most on board would never see him again.

Twenty-two men and an Inuit woman with two small daughters now stood on a mile-square ice floe, their ship and their original leader gone. Under Bartlett’s leadership they built make-shift shelters, surviving the freezing darkness of Polar night. Captain Bartlett now made a difficult and courageous decision. He would take one of the young Inuit hunters and attempt a 1000-mile journey to save the shipwrecked survivors. It was their only hope.

Set against the backdrop of the Titanic disaster and World War I, filled with heroism, tragedy, and scientific discovery, Empire of Ice and Stone tells the story of two men and two distinctively different brands of leadership: one selfless, one self-serving, and how they would forever be bound by one of the most audacious and disastrous expeditions in polar history, considered the last great voyage of The Heroic Age of Discovery.

The true, harrowing story of the ill-fated 1913 Canadian Arctic Expedition and the two men who came to define it.

In the summer of 1913, the wooden-hulled brigantine Karluk departed Canada for the...


Advance Praise

"Levy’s masterful storytelling put a chill in my bones and despair in my heart as the survivors of the Karluk tragedy struggled onward. Empire of Ice and Stone is a wonderful telling of a horrible voyage." —Jim Davidson, high-altitude climber and author of The Next Everest


“Against the backdrop of incomprehensible Arctic Ocean survival at the close of the age of exploration, Buddy Levy contrasts the consequences of men’s motives for leadership in a page-turning life-and-death epic that is so detailed and so well-developed that a reader can feel the frozen brine of an open lead in mid-winter pack ice, the gnawing pit of starvation, and the heart-warming compassion of a ship’s captain who will stop at nothing to save the men, women, children, and animals for whom he is responsible.” —Roman Dial, author of The Adventurer’s Son


"With a cast of eccentric and fascinating characters on a grand adventure - and misadventure - in one of the most extreme regions of the world, Empire of Ice and Stone ranks with the great exploration and survival epics in history. Hubris, jaw-dropping incompetence, callous self-interest and ultimately heroic determination and sacrifice all grapple for top billing. Buddy Levy’s writing and narrative sense is top notch and really brings this incredible story to life." —Stephen R. Bown, author of Island of the Blue Foxes: Disaster and Triumph on the World’s Greatest Scientific Expedition and The Last Viking: The Life of Roald Amundsen


"With Empire of Ice and Stone, Buddy Levy once again proves his mastery of historical journalism, spinning exhaustive research into storytelling gold. In vivid details and haunting images that graphically recreate often heroic, often horrifying events, Levy keeps us spellbound, turning page after page, breathless to see who, if anyone, can survive such unimaginable conditions. Whether a fantastic feat of human endeavor or the folly of man’s quest to conquer the final reaches of terra incognito, in Levy’s sure hands, the Canadian Arctic Expedition becomes a life-and-death drama of tragic proportions. Brimming with malevolence and malfeasance but also humble charity and true nobility, Empire of Ice and Stone is a triumphant exploration of the forces that drive the human heart to extremes." —Kim Barnes, Pulitzer finalist and award-winning author of In the Kingdom of Men


"Brace yourself for an edge-of-the-seat excursion not only through one of the more harrowing environments on the planet, but into an utterly vanished era, when exploration of the globe’s farthest reaches seemed to require equal parts bravery and lunacy. Buddy Levy relates the terror, travails, and sheer will to survive when such an expedition went disastrously awry. Expertly documented and beautifully described, Empire of Ice and Stone is a grand testament to the human impulse to risk adventure, seek new shores, and try to return again from the frozen beyond…" —Malcolm Brooks, national bestselling author of Painted Horses and Cloudmaker


"In his profoundly engrossing follow-up to Labyrinth of Ice, Levy brilliantly unveils new, terrifying dimensions of the Arctic’s cruel power, and further outlines the admirable folly of the men who dared to confront it. Like so many explorers of the so-called heroic age, Levy has been pulled back to that deadly landscape as if by magnetism. How fortunate we all are for it." —Julian Sancton, author of Madhouse at the End of the Earth


“With Empire of Ice and Stone, Buddy Levy brings the harrowing story of the Karluk to vivid life. The doomed ship and her crew face catastrophes beyond enduring again and again, and Levy skillfully keeps the reader dreading what will happen next.” —Andrea Pitzer, author of Icebound: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World

"Levy’s masterful storytelling put a chill in my bones and despair in my heart as the survivors of the Karluk tragedy struggled onward. Empire of Ice and Stone is a wonderful telling of a horrible...


Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781250274441
PRICE $29.99 (USD)

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (EPUB)
Send to Kindle (EPUB)
Download (EPUB)

Average rating from 22 members


Featured Reviews

Empire of Ice and Stone: The Disastrous and Heroic Voyage of the Karluk by Buddy Levy is a great nonfiction and historical account of the infamous and ill-fated attempt of the Arctic expedition of 1913.

I always love a good naval, Arctic expedition. Stakes are high, the captians and crew either win big or drama ensues. Unfortunately, sometimes lives are lost. However, the historical and biographical accounts that are created from a time that seems so far gone, but yet are usually less than 150 years ago.

This is another great book by Mr. Levy. I loved learning more about the Karluck and the events (many that were polarizing actions and decisions) that occurred afterwards was fascinating. Learning more about Captain Bob Bartlett and Vilhjalmur Stefansson and their respective decisions after their ill-equipped ship became encrusted into ice had me engaged and desperate to turn each page.

Mr. Levy presents a great account and has clearly done his research. I really appreciate and admire all of his talent and effort.

5/5 stars

Thank you NG and S. Martin’s Press for this wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion.

I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication on 12/6/22.

Was this review helpful?

My thanks, and it's a huge THANKS to St. Martin's Press, Buddy Levy and Netgalley.
This was one fantabulous story! I was already a fan of Mr. Levy after reading another book of his about the Greely expedition.
Mr. Levy has a knack for making the reader feel as if they were there. He makes everything feel very fluid.
This read almost like a novel. I didn't feel bogged down in facts. The facts, dates and deaths were all here, but there was so much taken from diaries, and put into a readable form that I enjoyed every moment.
I've been reading these kinds of stories for years now, and I'm still often amazed at the heroism. Mostly though, some of these men had unbounded compassion.
Had I lived one to two hundred years ago, and been a man then I'd have signed on to a Polar expedition in a heartbeat!
Recommended!😍

Was this review helpful?

5 stars

In 1913, the adventurous Vihjalmur Stefansson who was looking for fame, put together an Arctic expedition to be headed by Captain Robert “Bob” Bartlett aboard the ship Karluk. At that time, Bartlett was considered the greatest arctic ice navigator. They left from Canada on their great adventure. The expedition was named the Canadian Arctic Expedition (CAE).

Mr. Levy inserts brief biographies of Bartlett and Stefansson. Stefansson undertook a whirlwind world-wide trip to seek funding for his voyage. Meanwhile, Bartlett was horrified by the condition of the Karluk and set about strengthening and improving the ship and its condition.

I got the distinct impression that Mr. Levy found Stefansson to be rather underhanded and manipulative. As the story continues, I see that Mr. Levy is correct in his assessment. Stefansson didn’t feel the need to be totally honest with the scientists, for they should just take his word as team leader. Sheesh! (Their lives were “secondary to the scientific work.”)

Bartlett was just about the polar (no pun intended), opposite. He was competent and went about his work with incredible drive. He was not condescending to the crew. He didn’t have much to do with the scientists. He took one of the younger men named Mamen under his wing and taught him about the ice and the sea. The young man was eager to learn.

Ostensibly proposing a caribou hunting trip, Stefansson takes the two best hunters, twelve dogs and some other men. He sets off in a blizzard. He, himself said there were no caribou earlier in the trip. The ship is anchored to a huge ice floe and not going anywhere for the time being.

New splinters appeared among the crew and the scientists. Some wanted to abandon the Karluk, others thought that would be mutiny and they were loyal to Captain Bartlett.

Somehow Stefansson and his men found their way to land and civilization. Now he had to scheme his way past the Canadian government officials and explain how he got separated from the Karluk and rescue his mission. He told the officials that the Karluk was probably lost, but the men aboard her could have made it to land safely.

Meanwhile Bartlett kept the men busy on the Karluk. He created a fire brigade, had the men make sturdy boxes for their Primus stoves and so on. They read, played chess and talked about a variety of topics. They played games.

As the story continues, the reader learns that not only was Stefansson underhanded and manipulative, he was also a liar, a swindler and extremely selfish.

When he made his way to civilization, he brushed off the Karluk as if she were of no consequence. He argued bitterly with the leader of the South contingent of the Karluk expedition that had been left in another place. Not winning that battle, he audaciously brought another ship with Canadian government money and fully outfitted it.

After seven months trapped against the floe, the Karluk broke up and sank. The men safely evacuated to the ice. Fortunately, Captain Bartlett’s planning ahead paid off.

Mr. Levy goes on to describe the hardships the men suffered after the sinking of the Karluk. Most of them finally make it to Wrangel Island. Bartlett and one of the natives set out for Siberia some several hundred miles away. They had a horrible journey, but eventually made it to a settlement. From there they journeyed so that Bartlett could make it to Alaska and set about trying to encourage a rescue for the remaining men.

Meanwhile, Stefansson set about exploring on his own with his new crew. He apparently did not give any thought to the Karluk and its survivors.

Stefansson published several books and articles, to his own benefit. He blamed the Karluk disaster as solely Bartlett’s fault. Bartlett declined to respond, but was hurt and very angry about the falsehoods put forth by Stefansson.

This book is brilliantly written and plotted. Mr. Levy has a real talent for making non-fiction read like a novel. The book is enjoyable and engaging. The descriptions of the hardships with the weather and the bickering among the men are first class. It was Bartlett’s sense of duty and perseverance that led to the survivors' rescue. While I truly enjoy reading about the polar regions, there is no way I could visit myself. I’m far too much of a wimp.

I want to thank NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for forwarding to me a copy of this wonderful book for me to read, enjoy and review. The opinions expressed here are solely my own. .

Was this review helpful?

Publication date: December 6, 2022

Thank you to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review an advanced reader's copy of this book. This in no way affects my review, all opinions are my own and may be affected by the fact that I currently have nothing better to do than read multiple books a day!

SYNOPSIS
*****************
Buddy Levy's Empire of Ice and Stone is the true, harrowing story of the ill-fated 1913 Canadian Arctic Expedition and the two men who came to define it.

In the summer of 1913, the wooden-hulled brigantine Karluk departed Canada for the Arctic Ocean. At the helm was Captain Bob Bartlett, considered the world’s greatest living ice navigator. The expedition’s visionary leader was a flamboyant impresario named Vilhjalmur Stefansson hungry for fame.

Just six weeks after the Karluk departed, giant ice floes closed in around her. As the ship became icebound, Stefansson disembarked with five companions and struck out on what he claimed was a 10-day caribou hunting trip. Most onboard would never see him again.

Twenty-two men and an Inuit woman with two small daughters now stood on a mile-square ice floe, their ship and their original leader is gone. Under Bartlett’s leadership, they built make-shift shelters, surviving the freezing darkness of Polar night. Captain Bartlett now made a difficult and courageous decision. He would take one of the young Inuit hunters and attempt a 1000-mile journey to save the shipwrecked survivors. It was their only hope.

Set against the backdrop of the Titanic disaster and World War I, filled with heroism, tragedy, and scientific discovery, Empire of Ice and Stone tells the story of two men and two distinctively different brands of leadership: one selfless, one self-serving, and how they would forever be bound by one of the most audacious and disastrous expeditions in polar history, considered the last great voyage of The Heroic Age of Discovery.

We tend to hear more of the ill-fated Franklin Expedition in regards to Canadian Arctic history but this story was fascinating, and one I had never heard of before. The story was well written and presented and utterly engrossing. Any lover of history or non-fiction would adore this book: I will highly recommend this to friends, family and patrons alike.

If you have a fan of non-fiction in your family or amongst your friends, wrap this book up in a festive tea towel (one can never have enough tea towels) as it comes out in December and books are the BEST gifts.

Was this review helpful?

What a truly inspirational novel about the hardships and ordeal endured by the survivors of a shipwreck in the artic. What they were forced to go through for their survival is an amazing story that is a must read for all. The courage is unbelievable and you will not want to put this book down!

Thank you to #NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Buddy Levy has gone and done it again. He took a story I already knew and wrote a book I couldn't put down.

Empire of Ice and Stone is another great entry into the genre of Arctic exploration and adventure. The story revolves around the crew of the Karluk which is one of multiple ships put together for exploration by Vilhjalmur Stefansson. You will quickly learn not to like him. However, the captain of the Karluk, Bob Bartlett, will quickly become one of your favorite people. As with most Arctic exploration, things go horribly wrong. I won't spoil it any further.

This book is another example of what makes Buddy Levy such a great author. The book is thorough, but tightly focused on the men (and women!) of the expedition. Levy's eye for what you need to know keeps all of the extraneous information out. What's left is an adventure that focuses on people which make it so engaging.

And then what happens is you stay up too late on a weeknight because you don't want to stop reading. At least that is still better than being marooned on a giant ice floe.

(This book was provided as an advance copy by Netgalley and St. Martin's Press. The full review will be posted to HistoryNerdsUnited.com on 12/6/2022.)

Was this review helpful?

I learned a lot about a topic I was unfamiliar with and I appreciated that the facts were presented and kept the story moving. I never felt bogged down or bored, and the story never got dry. The story features an ill-fated Arctic expedition. The Karluck and events that occurred around the expedition were fascinating. The main characters are Captain Bob Bartlett and Vilhjalmur Stefansson, who were presented in an engaging way. I think this is a great account and I recommend this book.

Was this review helpful?

This is an incredible story of the Canadian Arctic Expedition, an ill-planned, ill-equipped, and unlucky foray into the Arctic that killed 16 people and left many of the survivors with lifelong injuries.

The description is the easiest way to summarize the events leading up to this futile misery.

"After a celebratory four-year polar expedition for the American Museum of Natural History that brought him fame, explorer and ethnologist Vilhjalmur Stefansson proposes an even bolder arctic mission. A charismatic, flamboyant impresario, he recruits a team of renowned scientists—including two who accompanied Ernest Shackleton aboard the Nimrod to the South Pole—and secures financing from Canada to journey into the high arctic to investigate the region’s resource potential.

Considered the world’s greatest living ice navigator, Captain Bob Bartlett was a veteran of three North Pole excursions with Robert Peary between 1898-1909, making him more than qualified for Stefansson’s Canadian Arctic Expedition. Commissioned to captain the Karluk, a more than thirty-year-old steam brigantine that served as a fishing tender and whaler, Bartlett found a vessel less than sea worthy and ordered a complete refit, putting him at odds with his impatient employer.

Once underway in June 1913, it became clear that even with extensive repairs, the Karluk was ill-equipped for Stefansson’s enterprise, as was its crew and scientist passengers. After six weeks of travel, the ship became icebound. Accompanied by five men, Stefansson crossed the floes to hunt caribou, and never returned. Responsible for the twenty-five souls left in his charge, Bartlett endured the sinking of the Karluk and traversed nearly 1000 miles of frozen wilderness to save his marooned shipmates—fighting to survive excruciating, frigid temperatures in makeshift shelters with scarce food sources as months pass with no sign of rescue."

The expedition was accompanied by an Inuit family composed of mother, "Auntie," father, and TWO children! Auntie saved the expedition by making clothing constantly, trying to make up for the poor planning of Stefansson. If she hadn't been along, they would have all been doomed.

A kitten also made the journey, cuddled by one of the children much of the time. Spoiler alert: the cat survived and came home to live with one of the surviving crew for the rest of her life. She actually outlived the man who brought her home, as he was killed on another expedition.

The suffering experienced by the members is horrendous. They had a pack of sled dogs, most of whom fought at every opportunity, caused a lot of work in their care and rescue when they got into trouble, and don't seem to have been that useful in this journey much of the time. Of course, the expedition never planned on being stranded in an ice pack and the many disasters that followed. One dog, Molly, did prove to be savior, companion, and a favorite among the travelers. She saved one man by towing him many miles to a distant camp.

One man may have been murdered late in the travails that kept dogging this expedition. Circumstances, purposeful or coincidental, resulted in the expedition leader leaving the ship relatively early on, making it to shore for a caribou hunt, and never managing to return. His further contribution - he survived, proceeded to launch ANOTHER expedition and never did much to rescue the shipload of travelers he left in the ice pack. It seems he wrote them off as lost early on, and expended little effort to confirm this.

Another expedition member, Bartlett, took over the ship, and while not all of his choices worked well, helped keep some alive. Auntie's husband hunted constantly. Most important of all, Auntie sewed replacement clothing from the hides and skins, repaired damaged items, and kept her children alive.

The few Inuit/Inupiat contacts made by expedition members were friendly, with the natives sharing their scant larders with the starving men at their doors. Even the Chukchi on the Russian side of the strait were hospitable to the strangers they couldn't understand.

As an expedition in quest of information, this adventure was largely a dud except as a handbook in what not to do in the future. One of the scientists fished for oceanic specimens and captured some that he felt were undiscovered. Regrettably, all of his data was lost when the ship sank.

The second from final chapter of this book is the best. The author followed the subsequent lives of the survivors, who were rescued just in time to participate in WWI. Some returned to the sea, or continued working for exploratory expeditions. Strangely, there are some men who do much better in the hardships of the ice lands than at home.

Auntie had more children. Her youngest daughter at the time of the expedition, Mugpi lived to be 97, receiving an award at age 90 for her family's contributions to Arctic science. The Spanish Flu claimed one survivor.

Bartlett and Stefansson continued a rivalry, sniping at each other regarding what each had done, or were perceived to have done during this doomed expedition. Stefansson even wrote a book entitled, "The Friendly Arctic," espousing that the land provided an adequate living for the prepared traveler, contrary to what was experienced by Bartlett and his group. This chapter is a relief after pages of frostbite, gangrene, illness and starvation. While "happily ever after" wasn't the case for all, some continued to seek adventurous lives.

Was this review helpful?

Buddy Levy’s “Empire of Ice and Stone” is an excellent non-fiction tale of Arctic adventure and survival. Painstakingly researched and so very well-written, it tells the story of Vilhjalmur Stefansson’s Canadian-backed, ill-planned, ill-equipped, and ill-fated expedition to explore above the Arctic circle; of how its ship the “Kulak” became trapped in Polar ice; and of Captain Bob Bartlett’s month’s long journey on foot to bring rescue to stranded expedition members struggling to survive a world of ice, snow, freezing temperatures, and man-killing wildlife.

Based in part on contemporaneous journals written by expedition members, “Empire” gives vivid accounts of the challenges inherent in Arctic life and of the methods employed—especially by its indigenous peoples—to meet those challenges. Building igloos and yarangas for shelter; fashioning kayaks from driftwood; hunting birds, bears, seals, and walrus for food; traveling by foot and dogsled over treacherous, heaving ice prone to splitting open without warning to the freezing waters below; battling frostbite, exhaustion, rotted food, and strange, wasting illnesses; not to mention conflicts between and amongst expedition members—all these form part of the expedition's story. As does one leader’s self-centered perfidy and his subordinate’s self-sacrifice and absolute determination to rescue the men, women, and children he left behind.

My thanks to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for providing me with an ARC. The foregoing is my independent opinion.

Was this review helpful?

Having never heard of this Canadian expedition to the Arctic, finding another story of incredible hardship, frostbite, starvation, bad behavior, good behavior, impossible ice, sled dogs, pemmican, and calls to abandon ship and build cairns was a pleasure. Given how our world and both poles are melting, these stories may one day read like fairy tales, but at least they won't make us long for life stuck in remote fastnesses where the winter temperatures drop to -50F!

Fans of Shackleton will meet some familiar faces, and the "Eskimo" family that comes along is worth twice its weight in gold and valuable survival skills. I would love to read a physiological explanation for how the native family survived so much better in the conditions than the explorers from the Lower 48.

Thank you to the publisher for the chance to review this book.

Was this review helpful?

This is the remarkable and gripping account of the Karluk shipwreck and sinking in the Arctic. It is nothing short of a miracle that any of these people survived. Luckily they had Captain Bob Bartlett who is the hero of this story. This is one of the best adventure/survival sea tales I've ever read. The misery and hopelessness of the crew was palpable. I found myself cringing reading about the things these people had to eat and the bitter cold they had to endure is unimaginable. Highly recommend to anyone who loves adventure and survival stories or just a page turning fantastic read.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you so much St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for the advance reader's copy. Buddy Levy's telling of the story of the Karluk's demise and the survival of most of her crew. A story I was not at all familiar with but truly brought to life in this book. It is so hard to imagine the hardships they endured and survive but the details and the style of writing brought it all to life. A superlative read!
#EmpireofIceandStone#St.Martin'sPress#NetGalley

Was this review helpful?

Empire of Ice and Stone by Buddy Levy was spectacular.
This book is about the famous ship Karluk and its passengers. They set off to the Arctic on a mission of exploration and science, but before they even reach the first stop of their journey, they are trapped in ice and swept off into the middle of the Arctic Ocean. What follows is a harrowing journey to survive and get rescued. Along the way they lose many people, starve, run out of shelter, get frostbitten, and otherwise face extreme hardships. Eventually, some of them make it back home, thanks to their bravery and fortitude.
Empire of Ice and Stone is expertly written. It is almost written like a novel, keeping me absorbed, with not too many facts all at once. Levy did extensive research, and included many of the explorers' own words in the form of snippets of their journal. Not only does Levy cover the entire adventure, he also lists what happened to each adventurer afterwards, including the ship cat and dogs.
I grew to love these people, and feel distraught as bad things continued to happen to them. Levy wrote the characters in such a way that they felt very real, and caused you to care.
This book was awesome, and l would recommend it to anyone who is interested in the Arctic explorations. I feel like this is a must read, and easy for people who know nothing. Some of the descriptions, such as the descriptions of frostbite and decaying corpses, are gruesome and disgusting, so beware of that.

Was this review helpful?

First read by this author. Ge makes you feel as if you are there. Fascinating and hard to put down. Thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book

Was this review helpful?

I enjoy reading non-fiction because it allows me to live vicariously through real people and this story definitely succeeded in that regard!
The novel begins with the organization of a scientific expedition to the arctic. Willie Stefansson, the mastermind behind the project, manages to secure funding from the Canadian federal government and recruits some of the best polar explorers of his time. They ready the Karluk and set out in 1913. Unfortunately, winter ice arrives early that year and they quickly run into trouble. It doesn't take long for the self involved Stefansson and his small entourage to abandon the ship and leave it's responsibility to Captain Bob Bartlett. As the ship is stuck in ice and drifting further away from land, the group starts to worry. The ship is in danger of being crushed by sea ice and if this happens, the chance of survival is dismal. Bartlett steps up and manages to keep people's spirits from drowning in despair. He assigns tasks to the crew, keeps an eye on their mental health and organizes a sporting event for Christmas to bring everyone together. The ship eventually succumbs to nature and the survival of its passengers is the sole focus.
The author did such a great job writing this book that I felt like I was right there, experiencing the hunger, cold, snow blindness and pain with the survivors. I felt invested in the people and hoped that they would survive, especially Bartlett, McKinlay, Mamen, Kataktovik, Kuraluk and his family. Overall, this was a great read!

Was this review helpful?

While I have done a fair amount of reading about various polar expeditions, I am by no means familiar with even a large percentage of all that have occurred. That being said, I am always intrigued by tales of adventure and hardship undertaken by people pushing the limits of physical endurance and scientific discovery.

Buddy Levy's tale of the final voyage of the Karluk as part of the ill-fated Canadian Arctic Expedition of 1913 was masterfully told. Centered around two strongly divergent individuals, nominally leaders in their own right, the story unfolds straight from the personal journals of those souls that set out to expand the known world. Buddy has very clearly done extensive research to pull relevant information together and artfully put it together so it reads like a novel while it instructs like a history book.

This book was very well done, and easily recommended for anyone that has an interest.

Was this review helpful?

Empire of Ice and Stone by Buddy Levy

This five star account of an expedition ship frozen in Arctic ice and the race against time for survival will keep you on the edge-of-your-seat.

Robert Bartlett captained the Karluk, commissioned by explorer Vilhjalmur (Willie) Stefansson, to search the Arctic and map new lands for Canada. As it turns out, the Karluk and its crew were ill prepared for such a voyage.

Disaster strikes and the Karluk cannot escape the firm grip of the ice. Stefansson heads out with two crewmen to hunt caribou leaving Bartlett in charge of the ship and many lives. After a time, the Karluk sinks leaving the men and one Eskimo family alone on the ice. Boredom and hunger set in.

The bravery of all the stranded and their many hardships is astounding.You will cheer for their survival and rescue, as well as a proper punishment for Stefansson’s negligence.

The last chapter will tie up all the loose ends, and is a good finale to an exciting adventure.
Many thanks to #StMartinsPress and #NetGalley for this ARC.

Was this review helpful?

I enjoyed this book. The plot was paced well and the characters were well developed. I would recommend this book to others and I look forward to reading more from this author in the future.

Was this review helpful?

This is the true story of two men. One a great leader and one not so great.

With everything going on on the world stage in 1913, a wooden-hulled brigantine named Karlud departed Canada for the Arctic. Bob Barlett, who was considered a legend navigating ice manned the helm, and Vilhjalmur Stefansson, who just wanted to be famous.

About six weeks after they leave, they are surrounded by giant ice floes. Stefansson leaves the ship with five others and leaves for what he said was a 10-day hunting ship. Will they ever see him again?

22 men and an Inuit woman with her two daughters are now sitting on a mile-square ice floe, their ship and leader are gone. They make the best of the situation by building shelters and trying to stay alive.

Bartlett made the decision to take one of his hunters on a 1000-mile journey to save them.

This was such an interesting book. These men couldn’t have been any more different. And the conditions were awful. I have such admiration for the courage shown by this leader.

NetGalley/St. Martin’s Press December 06, 2022

Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: