*Nichols, Peter. Voyage to the North Star. Carroll & Graf. November 1999. c.352p. ISBN: 0-7867-0664-3. $24.00. Fiction.

This immensely satisfying first novel from memoirist Nichols (Sea Change: Alone Across the Atlantic in a Wooden Boat) begins in 1932 with wacky big-game hunter Carl Schenck gung ho to kill “prodigious” animals in the grand manner of Teddy Roosevelt—even if he has to mount an Arctic safari to do so—and ends with a perilous struggle for survival in the far north. In between, Schenck, a man who seemingly can buy anything and anyone he wants, prepares for the expedition that will pit him against Will Boden, a former sea captain who has lost everything dear to him—boat, wife, and reputation—and hungers only for a second chance. Nichols spins a powerful story crammed with historical details and biting social commentary, awe-inspiring for its knowledge of ships and the sea, deft in its depiction of eccentric figures and harrowing events, and exhilarating for the quality of writing and the story’s moral depth. A gripping novel of blood lust, human folly, and desperate hope in the tradition of Melville, Conrad, and Jack London; highly recommended for both public and academic libraries.

LJ 124, no. 16 (October 1, 1999), 136.

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