Everland by Rebecca Hunt
|Everland by Rebecca Hunt|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Ani Johnson|
|Summary: A well-paced thriller linked with the fates of two fictional Antarctic expeditions 100 years apart with equally well-paced research. Loved every second!|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 304||Date: March 2014|
|Publisher: Fig Tree|
There have been two expeditions to the Antarctic island of Everland a century apart. The ill-fated 1913 trip of Dinners, Napps and Millet-Bass is primitive by today's standards. The 2012 expedition is better equipped, better prepared and arrives at a better time of year so all bodes well for Decker, Brix and Jess. But despite the differences both expeditions have things in common. Both groups carry secrets, some become obvious but others remain behind waiting to become discovered.
Rebecca Hunt wowed us here at Bookbag Towers with her first novel, the allegorical comedy Mr Chartwell. For her second outing she's going with something completely different; it may be unfunny (and intentionally so) but just as rewarding a read. Indeed, here in the fictional Everland when the wonderfully exploited research isn't riveting us to our seats, the tension and suspense is tipping us towards the edge of them.
The earlier explorers Napps and Millet-Bass are Boys' Own hero types while Dinners is less confident (not to mention less practical) as they set out for their inhospitable destination. However, as well as being heroic, they're also human and become worn down by the conditions, showing what lies beneath the gentlemanly surface – and it's not pretty.
Rebecca has worked hard to ensure that the historic scene setting and accoutrements are authentic, seamlessly adding to the flow as we follow the intrepid trio as well as the supply rescue ship that returns to collect them. Closer examination demonstrates that the crew isn't the sort you want to bump into at a cocktail party either as some secrets, often as dark as the enmities with which they co-exist.
Jump 100 years and we're there with our modern team on Decker's last trip before his retirement. (Nope, not saying a word about that!) The two ladies accompanying him make equally interesting companions as Jess is non-scientific and Brix is fighting assumptions about her own abilities.
Rebecca just as deftly sows the research here in the 21st century. While they're there to survey the island, including its seal inhabitants, we come away more knowledgeable as well as entertained. (For instance, did you know that female fur seals - cows – tend to go to sea to die?)
The two parties and eras alternate their tales, Rebecca even taking full advantage of this. At one stage a 2012 expedition discussion even acts as a highly effective teaser for the following 1913 event. We're also invited to compare the then-and-now attitudes to such things as conservation, the 1913 reason for killing fur seals being particularly surprising.
Gradually we realise that the two expeditions mirror each other in many ways, leading to some shocking disclosures and a breath-taking finale.
Indeed this is a novel that has 'movie' written all over it, although it'll be hard pushed to equal the book. This is definitely the sort of novel that encourages us to read it many times; rewarding us with something different each time we open it. We can't always say that about a film can we?
We'd definitely like to thank Fig Tree for providing us with a copy for review.
Further Reading: If you enjoyed this, we also recommend Rebecca's Mr Chartwell. (You saw that coming didn't you?)
You can read more book reviews or buy Everland by Rebecca Hunt at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Everland by Rebecca Hunt at Amazon.com.
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