Emperors of the Ice: A True Story of Disaster and Survival in the Antarctic, 1910-13

Emperors of the Ice: A True Story of Disaster and Survival in the Antarctic, 1910-13

by Richard Farr, Michael Page

View All Available Formats & Editions

In 1909, every continent had been thoroughly explored . . . except one. That September, Captain Robert F. Scott announced a new scientific expedition that would put Antarctica firmly on the map at last and claim the South Pole for Great Britain. Twenty-three-year-old Apsley Cherry-Garrard was asked to join. With no special skills, and terrible eyesight, he seemed a


In 1909, every continent had been thoroughly explored . . . except one. That September, Captain Robert F. Scott announced a new scientific expedition that would put Antarctica firmly on the map at last and claim the South Pole for Great Britain. Twenty-three-year-old Apsley Cherry-Garrard was asked to join. With no special skills, and terrible eyesight, he seemed a surprising choice. Yet in the most lethal wilderness on earth, where temperatures plummet to ­-77°F and even bacteria can't survive, "Cherry" proved himself so capable that he became a key member of the expedition. He volunteered for the infamous "Winter Journey" in 1911 - a horrific month long trek through storm-lashed darkness to collect the eggs of the Emperor penguin - and this half-mad outing in the name of science became the central experience of his life. The following spring, he was among the members chosen to support the 800-mile march to the South Pole - and then he was sent on another nearly disastrous mission, a doomed attempt to resupply the five men who had reached the Pole but never returned.
Emperors of the Ice is based on extensive research, and incorporates dozens of photographs and other material from the actual expedition.

But this is no mere history: recreating the story in Cherry's own voice, Richard Farr places listeners right inside this horrifying ordeal - and the amazing feats of courage and camaraderie that survival required. The result is inspiring and heartbreaking: a narrative you will never forget.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Barbara Carroll Roberts
Very few books truly deserve to be called spellbinding, but this book is one of those rare few. Even readers who do not care much for tales of action and adventure will find this book almost impossible to put down. This is a nonfiction chronicle of Robert Scott's second Antarctic expedition, 1910 to 1913, but author Farr employs a superb device to render the narrative with all the tension, immediacy, and richness of first-class fiction—he has recreated the voice of one of the expedition's youngest participants, Apsley Cherry-Garrard, to relate the tale. Drawing on Cherry-Garrard's journals, as well as a wealth of other sources, Farr captures the voice of an acute and literate observer, a man who even in the face of extreme hardship and loss never loses his sense of wonder at the power and beauty of nature. Crystalline images, such as this description of icebergs, linger in the reader's mind long after the book is closed: "There they were, out to the east: two magical silver fortresses standing guard over the blue silk plain of the ocean." Young readers—as well as their parents, teachers and librarians—will be captivated by this extraordinary book. Back matter includes a chronology and bibliography. Reviewer: Barbara Carroll Roberts
VOYA - Sherrie Williams
In 1910, Apsley G. B. Cherry-Garrard was offered a spot on the crew of Captain Robert Falcon Scott's Antarctic expedition. He became the assistant zoologist on the famously ill-fated trip, much more out of family influence than actual skill or knowledge. The journey took nearly three years, with the threat of death at every turn. Following a harrowing journey to New Zealand and the Antarctic Circle, some members of the crew began planning their ultimately failed quest to beat Roald Amundsen's Norwegian explorers to the South Pole while others sought to gather emperor penguin eggs for zoological study. Each of these journeys was exceptionally costly for the men who undertook them, with the toll ranging from severe frostbite to death. "Cherry" manages to survive the expedition and write an extensive memoir upon returning home. This fictionalized memoir of Cherry's time in the Antarctic is a very memorable story of survival and death in the name of science and exploration. Based on Cherry's actual memoirs and told in first-person narrative, the story is vivid and full of action. There are poignant moments of bravery and self-sacrifice that the reader will ponder long after finishing the book. Heavily illustrated with paintings, photos, and documents from the actual expedition, the book brings vividly to life the explorers and scientists of nearly a century ago. Readers from middle school age to adults will find this tale of survival to be unforgettable. Reviewer: Sherrie Williams
KLIATT - Janis Flint-Ferguson
Apsley George Benet Cherry-Garrard was a recent graduate of England's Oxford College when a chance meeting with zoologist Dr. Edward Wilson changed his life. At the turn of the century explorers Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleford each came tantalizingly close to the South Pole. Their feats engaged the hearts and minds of many who saw the South Pole as the last frontier, so when word spread in 1909 that Scott was going to mount a second attempt, thousands of young adventurers applied for positions on his crew. Because of Cherry-Garrard's acquaintance with Wilson, who had been with Scott on the first attempt, Cherry-Garrard was selected to join the expedition. Author Farr has drawn from memoirs and books to create what he believes might have been "Cherry's" account of the ill-fated expedition that took the lives of Scott, Wilson and several other experienced explorers. The novel reads like a documentary, and the voice of young Cherry is equally knowledgeable and emotional as he recounts the voyage to Antarctica, the scientific study that was undertaken and Scott's tragic push to reach the Pole. Farr's research and use of journal accounts make this a rich picture of early 20th-century exploration that straddles the line between fiction and nonfiction. Reviewer: Janis Flint-Ferguson
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Young Apsley Cherry-Garrard dreamed of becoming an explorer, but he believed that he was born too late because every continent had already been explored by 1909. However, at the age of 23, his dreams were realized when he joined Richard Falcon Scott's expedition to Antarctica. In 1911, he volunteered for the "Winter Journey" to the South Pole and made a successful trip overland with two other men to the mating grounds of the Emperor penguin. They believed that the penguin eggs they gathered would further scientists' understanding of bird evolution. In this fictionalized account (Farrar, 2008), based on Cherry's memoirs, Richard Farr describes the grueling experience, adding re-created dialogue and interpreting emotion from Cherry-Garrard's own writings as well as journals and other primary source materials from other members of the party. Michael Page's narration, though dry at times, perfectly expresses the explorers' wry humor in the face of overwhelming adversity. The final disc includes the back matter from the book, including a recited chronology of the book's events and several notes on various facets of the expedition. This audiobook will appeal to history buffs and fans of true survival stories.—Misti Tidman, Boyd County Public Library, Ashland, KY
Kirkus Reviews

It's clear from the start that first-time author Farr cares passionately about his subject. Unfortunately it seems unlikely that contemporary readers will share his connection to Apsley Cherry-Garrard, upon whose memoir this account of Scott's ill-fated polar exploration is based. Told in the first person, this "fictional memoir" includes direct quotations from primary sources as well as black-and-white photographs from the expedition. Prior knowledge of the events is not assumed, and charts, maps and a timeline are included. Readers won't have much trouble, then, following what's happening. But ironically enough they may feel distanced from the action by the very technique that Farr hopes will draw them in. Evoking, quite convincingly, the voice of a privileged young man of the early 20th century, the text comes across as stilted and formal. Despite the high esteem in which "Cherry" clearly held them, the other explorers fail to come to life through his voice. The tragic outcome of the journey therefore loses some of its power despite its undeniable drama. Heartfelt but ultimately uninspiring. (preface, chronology, sources, bibliography) (Nonfiction. YA)

Product Details

Brilliance Audio
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.25(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
12 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

RICHARD FARR grew up in England and has worked as a college professor, a journalist, and a gas station attendant, among other things. He now lives in Seattle, Washington. This is his first book

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >