Empire of Ice and Stone: The Disastrous and Heroic Voyage of the Karluk

St. Martin’s. Dec. 2022. 400p. ISBN 9781250274441. $29.99. HIST
Levy (Labyrinth of Ice: The Triumphant and Tragic Greely Polar Expedition) recounts the harrowing ordeal of the survivors of the Karluk, a ship that was part of the Canadian Arctic Expedition of 1913–16, organized by Vilhjalmur Stefansson and captained by Robert Bartlett, who had concerns about the seaworthiness of the vessel. The ship eventually became trapped in ice. The work describes the two divergent paths Stefansson and Bartlett took: the former left the ship and was able to reach land, where he left behind the survivors and focused on continued exploration; the latter endeavored to keep up the morale of the crew and undertook an arduous journey to find help to save the shipwrecked survivors. The bulk of the book recounts the day-to-day terror of the crew as they tried to move from the ice to land, set up camps in unforgiving terrain, and kept from starving or freezing to death. Each new challenge the group faced reads more intensely than a thriller, and it is always unclear who will survive to be rescued, or if a rescue will come.
VERDICT For readers who enjoy stories of survival in extreme settings.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing