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Victim of the Aurora [Paperback]

Thomas Keneally
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
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Book Description

12 Sep 2002
In the waning years of the Edwardian era, a group of gentlemen wait out a raging blizzard in the perpetual darkness of the Antarctic winter, poised for a strike at the South Pole. As the storm lifts, a new challenge faces Captain Sir Eugene Stewart - to discover which of his twenty-five carefully chosen men has become a murderer. The quest for adventure has become a quest for justice.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Sceptre; 2 edition (12 Sep 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340407867
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340407868
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 899,528 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

His story is tightly reined: terse, ironic, reflective. His depiction of Edwardian innocence and stuffiness crashing against the Antarctic void is superb (Washington Post)

The solution is as astonishing as it is inevitable, the denouement chilling and tragic (Ruth Rendell)

The period gives this book its strength and character . . . altogether an admirable accomplishment (New Yorker)

The absolute dark, absolute cold of the Antarctic is skilfully evoked (Sunday Times)

A powerful and subtle writer . . . a remarkable novel (Spectator)

I was riveted by this tale of a man fighting the elements and his fellow explorers (Daily Telegraph)

Highly original and deeply moving (Observer)

Book Description

A compelling, powerful novel of adventure and murder among Antarctic explorers.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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First Sentence
Once, sometime in the 1930s, when journalists pressed me about the Henneker rumors, I cried out, "We were the great New British South Polar Expedition." Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Murder in the Antarctic. 16 Sep 2003
By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAME TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Written in 1978, this is a murder mystery set near the South Pole in 1909, the same year as Sir Ernest 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 a blackmailer who holds damaging information about almost everyone in the crew, their reputations vulnerable because they have violated the inflexible moral strictures of Edwardian England. A cuckolded husband, the secret lover of a married aristocrat, a mountain guide who may be responsible for a fatal excursion, a man tried for theft, and others "guilty" of homosexuality, Zionism, illegitimacy, and heresy reflect the pettiness and rigidity of "civilized" life in England and offer motivation both for the murder of Victor and for participating in the expedition. The book's conclusion is also consistent with the mores of the day. While this may not be the greatest mystery of all time, it is certainly one in which the author has done all his homework, well worth reading for the context it provides for other (real) expeditions of the day.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Murder in the Antarctic 29 Dec 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
A claustrophobic novel about a turn of the century Antarctic expedition which turns into a murder investigation when one of it's members is found dead on the ice. The bulk of the novel involves discovering the victim's past and how it interconnected with the lives of the other team members. An interesting, light-weight novel with a twist at the end. Read it on a snowy weekend.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A change of pace for people with Shackleton-mania. 10 April 2001
By Mary Whipple - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
If you've read everything you can find on Sir Ernest Shackleton's trips to Antarctica, seen the traveling exhibit with Frank Hurley's extraordinary photographs and memorabilia from the Endurance, and still crave more about Antarctic expeditions, this book will keep you interested and dreaming of such exploration for a few more hours.

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, their reputations vulnerable because they have violated the inflexible moral strictures of Edwardian England. A cuckolded husband, the secret lover of a married aristocrat, a mountain guide who may be responsible for a fatal excursion, a man tried for theft, and others "guilty" of homosexuality, Zionism, illegitimacy, and heresy reflect the pettiness and rigidity of "civilized" life in England and offer motivation both for the murder of Victor and for participating in the expedition. The book's conclusion is also consistent with the mores of the day. While this may not be the greatest mystery of all time, it is certainly one in which the author has done all his homework, well worth reading for the context it provides for other (real) expeditions of the day. Mary Whipple
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Humanity in Isolation 26 Nov 2001
By lvkleydorff - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is not really a book of Antarctic exploration. Keneally uses this ploy to show us a group of 26 men who spend many months in complete isolation during arctic darkness. The men have different backgrounds and different professional specialties. An uneven lot, if there ever was one. But, of course, they completely depend on each other. They must work as a tight community - and we await Keneally's thoughts of this "experiment". He introduces Victor Henneker, a journalist who has collected unsavory facts on people he meets, including most of the members of the expedition. Henneker gets killed, and his notes now become public knowledge. How do the explorers deal with what they now know about each other? Do they look at them now with different eyes? Most important: do they still trust each other?
Keneally gives us a fascinating portrait of people under the stress of a predicament they cannot flee. A fascinating book.
3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Murder in the Antarctic 29 Dec 1998
By R. Miklich - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
A claustrophobic novel about a turn of the century Antarctic expedition which turns into a murder investigation when one of it's members is found dead on the ice. The bulk of the novel involves discovering the victim's past and how it interconnected with the lives of the other team members. An interesting, light-weight novel with a twist at the end. Read it on a snowy weekend.
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