Synopses & Reviews
A generation ago, America's attention was riveted on our first manned missions into space. Those efforts announced a new and more optimistic spirit of the age and, not for the first time, we set for ourselves what seemed an unattainable goal.
In 1871 America was a country still searching for hope. The vast darkness of the Civil War was receding, but remnants of its bitter divisiveness remained. It would take a self-taught Arctic adventurer to focus the attention of Americans on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line on their limitless future and demonstrate that anything was possible. With financial backing from Congress and the best wishes of President Grant, the Polaris steamed out of New York harbor. The expedition's goal was to do what no one had ever done: the crew and captain, Charles Francis Hall, were going to the North Pole.
In this powerful tale of death and survival, courage and intrigue aboard a doomed ship, Richard Parry chronicles one of the most bizarre, little known tragedies at sea in U.S. history. In so doing, he captures a cast of unforgettable and often alarming characters caught up in one man's noble but flawed vision.
Hall was a veteran of the Arctic, a man of great physical stamina. But Polaris was a ship loaded down not just with provisions, but with simmering conflicts and ill advised command decisions. Beset by bad luck, and a lack of discipline and a clear chain of command, the Polaris entered the icy seascape off the coast of Greenland. With Hall's eyes blazing with determination, ship and captain entered a realm from which neither would return.
Within months Hall died, under strange circumstances. With the expedition's chief scientist taking charge, Polaris forged on. Then disaster struck. Half the crew was separated from the ship, left on an ice flow while much of the supplies sank into the black depths of the sea. The other half stayed with a ship that was now undermanned and undersupplied. What followed was a horrifying, seven-month ordeal through the heart of the Arctic winter, when men fought starvation, madness, and each other upon the ever-shifting ice.
Like the Perfect Storm, Trial by Ice is an incredible adventure that pits men against the natural elements and their very fragile human nature. For within this narrative lies another tale--a real life murder mystery that leads to accusations of foul play and a dramatic inquiry. Now, nearly a century after the crime was committed, Richard Parry draws on recent evidence and recounts the amazing story of the killer who boarded Polaris--and got away with murder.
In 1871, the Polaris sailed with great fanfare from New York harbor and began a historic journey to one of the earth's final frontiers. Seven months later, a handful of half-starved survivors returned with a story that shocked the entire nation. . . .
In the dark, divisive years following the Civil War, America's foremost Arctic explorer, Charles Francis Hall, became a figure of national pride and renown 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.
Hall was a veteran of the Arctic and a man of great physical stamina, but all his strength and experience couldn't combat the conflicts brewing among his officers and 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 the ship nor its captain would ever return.
As the expedition reached its most crucial stage, Hall inexplicably sickened and died. Whispers of murder swept through the ship. Still, the Polaris forged on, only to meet with a further disaster that left half the crew separated from the ship and most of their supplies at the bottom of the ocean. What followed was a horrifying, seven-month 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. Beyond this, it isalso 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 killer who boarded the Polaris-and got away with murder.
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.
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.