Synopses & Reviews
“An extraordinary real-life adventure of men battling the elements and themselves, told with ice-cold precision.”
-Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
In the dark years following the Civil War, Americas foremost Arctic explorer, Charles Francis Hall, became a figure of national pride when he embarked on a harrowing, landmark expedition. With financial backing from Congress and the personal support of President Grant, Captain Hall and his crew boarded the Polaris, a steam schooner carefully refitted for its rigorous journey, and began their quest to be the first men to reach the North Pole. Neither the ship nor its captain would ever return.
What transpired was a tragic death and whispers of murder, as well as a horrifying ordeal through the heart of an Arctic winter, when men fought starvation, madness, and each other upon the ever-shifting ice. Trial by Ice is an incredible adventure that pits men against the natural elements and their own fragile human nature. In this powerful true story of death and survival, courage and intrigue aboard a doomed ship, Richard Parry chronicles one of the most astonishing, little known tragedies at sea in American history.
“ABSORBING . . . Suspense builds as Parry describes the events leading up to Halls ‘murder, then climaxes in horrifying detail.”
In 1871, the Polaris sailed from New York and began a historic journey to one of the earth's final frontiers: the North Pole. Seven months later, a handful of half-starved survivors returned with a story that shocked the nation.
Captain Charles Francis Hall was a veteran of the Arctic, a man of great physical stamina. But the Polaris was a ship loaded down not just with provisions, but with simmering tensions among the crew. Beset by bad luck, a lack of discipline, and an unclear chain of command, the Polaris entered the icy waters off the coast of Greenland. Neither ship nor its captain would ever return.
"Trial by Ice" unfolds an authentic murder mystery that, in its time, led to accusations of foul play and a dramatic, unresolved investigation. Now, more than a century after the crime was committed, the author draws on recent evidence to recount the amazing story of the man who boarded the Polaris -- and got away with murder.
About the Author
Richard Parry is a retired surgeon who practiced in Anchorage, Alaska. He now lives in Sun City, Arizona. He is the author of three acclaimed novels on Wyatt Earp, as well as That Fateful Lightning: A Novel of Ulysses S. Grant.
From the Hardcover edition.