Explorers of the New Century begins with a race between Captain Johns, a British explorer, and Tostig, a Scandinavian, as each tries to become the first man to reach the AFP, or Agreed Furthest Point. Mills creates obvious parallels between this race and the 1911 race for the South Pole between Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, who became the first to reach the Pole, and the British explorer Robert Falcon Scott, who, with his crew, died in the attempt to return to his base. From the outset, the novel is full of anticipation and excitement, as the rival crews, who have never met each other, prepare to head south with their mule caravans hauling their supplies and equipment. Johns, his ten-man crew, and twenty-three mules blaze a trail across the scree; Tostig with four men and ten mules, follows a dry river bed, a more difficult trail. By involving the reader in the initial adventure, Mills sets him up so that when the dramatic revelation is made of what is motivating the trip south, the impact is doubly strong.
Category Archive for 'Antarctica'
Written in 1978, this is a murder mystery set near the South Pole in 1909, the same year as Shackleton’s first expedition and five years before the Endurance epic. A similar crew of explorer-scientists and sailors, with the same attitudes and prejudices that one finds in the literary record of the Endurance, perform similar tasks under similar conditions, with one big exception. Captain Eugene Stewart (sharing initials with Ernest Shackleton) must also investigate his own crew as he attempts to unmask the murderer of Victor Henneker, the expedition’s representative of the press, who intends to record the voyage for posterity. With the same care for historic details and period attitudes which one sees in some of Keneally’s later, prize-winning books, such as Confederates and Schindler’s List, Keneally reveals Henneker to be a blackmailer who holds damaging information about almost everyone in the crew.