by Ann (Haw River, NC): I’ve now read this book 14 times since I discovered it. I keep going back again and again. The ice and cold give the setting such a sense of permanent isolation–nobody is coming for them– that haunts me every time. The fact that the story is based on truth also gives it a haunting quality. Who knows what these men really went through? Simmons makes you feel as if you’re aboard the ship itself. I also have such sympathy for Crozier. He had a difficult place among the English as an Irishman, and his alcoholism made him unapproachable and very misunderstood. The battle with his demons made him a better commander and a better man as well, and I think his men respected him more after his victory over the bottle. He truly had their best interests at heart. I just wanted to shake Sir John and the others when Crozier tried to warn them of the coming pack ice. Crozier’s belief that King William Land was an island was also rebuffed, and Crozier was treated as if he didn’t know what he was talking about. I think he was a much better captain than Sir John, and if they had listened to Crozier and acted, they would not have lost their ships and hence, their men and their own lives. This book is an excellent example of merging a true story with a fictional horror. I’m sure I will continue to enjoy it for many years to come. I recommend it to anyone who loves a thrilling story that is difficult to put down.