Icebound

“Beyond thrilling. Beyond enthralling. I found this a tale so involving that I simply couldn’t put it down.” —Martin W. Sandler, author of the National Book Award finalist 1919 and The Impossible Rescue

“Andrea Pitzer’s visceral, thrilling account is full of such tantalizing surprises, a delight on every level.” —Andrea Barrett, National Book Award-winning author of Ship Fever and The Voyage of the Narwhal

“In this engrossing narrative of the Far North, enriched by her own adventurous sojourns in the Arctic, Andrea Pitzer brings Barents’ three harrowing expeditions to vivid life—while giving us fascinating insights into one of history’s most intrepid navigators.” —Hampton Sides, New York Times bestselling author of In the Kingdom of Ice

Mountains of ice. Months of darkness. A lethal disease quietly ravaging castaways, while predators stalked human prey. Centuries before Ernest Shackleton raced toward the South Pole or Robert Peary claimed to reach the North Pole, a far more grueling survival story astounded the world.

In 1596, navigator William Barents sailed from Amsterdam in search of a northeast trade route to China. He left the safety of the continent for the mysteries of the far North and the open sea he hoped to discover there. Instead, by September, Barents and sixteen crew members found themselves trapped by ice in the high Arctic. Forced off their ship and stranded for the winter, they struggled to survive an inhuman climate.

Catastrophes endured by the crew subjected them to horrific suffering, but also changed history. Expanding the edges of the mapped world, making scientific discoveries, and inspiring countless explorers who followed in their wake, William Barents and those who sailed with him influenced the search for commerce and the path that colonialism took as it engulfed the globe.

Icebound: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World tells the story of the deadly challenges encountered by sailors on Barents’ three breathtaking expeditions.

More praise for Icebound:

“Andrea Pitzer’s worthy and superb account keeps us enthralled to the last chilling word.”—Dean King, nationally bestselling author of Skeletons on the Zahara and The Feud

“A masterwork of narrative nonfiction.” —Mitchell Zuckoff, New York Times author of Frozen in Time and Fall and Rise

“Gives readers a new understanding of the phrase uncharted territory…. Methodically researched and elegantly told.”—Beth Macy, New York Times bestselling author of Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America

“An enchantment. Pitzer expertly draws the reader into landscapes so unfamiliar and unsettling that they may as well be stolen from science fiction….[Features] ordeals that—to today’s readers—can seem nearly unimaginable.”—Steve Silberman, author, NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity

“Stunning…shines with the glitter of sun reflecting off polar ice, auroral light shimmering in the night sky, and—mostly—the sheer, stubborn power of the undaunted human spirit.”—Deborah Blum, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Poison Squad: One Chemist’s Single-Minded Crusade for Food Safety at the Turn of the Twentieth Century

“Fascinating, bizarre, and very human…A riveting account of lives drawn into a world that seems at once dream and nightmare.”—Blair Braverman, author of Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube: Chasing Fear and Finding Home in the Great White North

“An epic tale of exploration, daring, and tragedy told by a fine historian—and a wonderful writer.”—Peter Frankopan, internationally bestselling author of The Silk Roads: A New History of the World