"An ambitious undertaking, operating in several time frames, with the present action interrupted frequently by episodes taking place from 1845 well into the mid twentieth century. Real historic personages (e.g., Roald Amundsen and Jack London) are intermixed with fictional characters...An impressive work."
John Teel, PCA Mystery and Detective Fiction Reading List
Shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, 2017
Longlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, 2017
"The novel is a tapestry of time and place, a study of human nature, and a celebration of exploration and adventure."Booklist (Starred Review)
"A complex tale of historical intrigue about nineteenth-century polar explorers, the strange disappearance of Sir John Franklin's Arctic expedition in 1845, and the unexpected discovery of key evidence relating to the disappearance in 2009 . . . The historical depictions of polar explorersthe men, conditions, and horrible fatesare accurate and stunning."Publishers Weekly
"O'Loughlin's ability to quantify the magnetism of Arctic exploration, the mentality of those who heed its icy siren song, and his amusing play with literary styles/tastes."Historical Novel Review
"A tour de force juggling act of narrative legerdemain." -Kirkus Reviews
"Readers who delight in history and mystery mixed together will appreciate O'Loughlin's shifting drifts of reality and imagination."Library Journal (Starred Review)
"An exhilarating romp through the age of polar exploration . . . Minds of Winter is a story of death and glory, loss and triumph, and, ultimately, the mighty power of the imagination in the face of unrelenting struggle."Winnipeg Free Press
"A richly researched fictional exploration of the history of arctic exploration."The Toronto Star
"The scope is truly epic, taking us literally from pole to pole and covering 175 years of history."Quill and Quire
"Minds of Winter is a remarkable feat of imagination, empathy, and research. Past and present merge to convey the polar landscape's immense mysteries, and the lives of those voyagers compelled to seek answers in its icy expanses. Ed O'Loughlin is a skilled cartographer of both the Arctic and the human heart. What a magnificent novel."Ron Rash, New York Times best-selling author
"O'Loughlin's novel is a hymn to human endurance. There will be few better historical novels published this year."The Sunday Times of London
"For those interested in the obsessions of polar exploration, this is a compelling and suitably idiosyncratic voyage into its strange motivations."The Australian
"Intricately structured."Times Literary Supplement
"A compelling and hugely ambitious novel."
Irish Mail on Sunday
"Gripping . . . O'Loughlin is operating at the interstices of truth and history, of that which can be known and that which cannot . . . The final pages seem inevitable, as great endings must; the whole novel wondrous in its tone and reach."
Eoin McNamee, The Irish Times
"A book that gets you down to the marrow. The compass of Ed O'Loughlin's Minds of Winter points north by northnorth. Up and up it goes, drawn by husky dogs towards the North Pole, chillier and chillier by degrees, frostbitten, snow-blind, but determined . . . Thrilling, Boys' Own, Hornblower stuff."
Laura Freeman, Spectator
"Minds of Winter is an ambitious novel, sweeping in scope, about the golden age of Polar scientific exploration and the motivations behind the men who conquered the lands of everlasting winter. It also provides a historical backdrop to delve into the inner lives of some of the most renowned explorers, such as Roald Amundsen, Sir John Franklin, and Cecil Meares."Carmen's Books and Movies
"A novel as wide and daring in its execution as its subjectcenturies of mystery, horror and human courage in polar exploration. This rollicking, beautifully written tale ranges from the lost expedition of Sir John Franklin in 1845with its promise of British heroism mingled with hints of cannibalismto the expeditions of Roald Amundsen both to the South Pole and the Northwest Passage, with a fascinating dose of Nazi U-boats and Cold War spying. The stories fade out, like so many lives lost in blinding snowdrifts, leaving the mysteries to echo hauntingly in readers' minds, hoping always for a little more."The Sunday Times of South Africa
"Author Ed O'Loughlin has masterfully drawn everything together. It takes talent to be able to plot out a mystery and to leave clues and little breadcrumbs for the readers. I would recommend this to folks who enjoy historical mysteries and multiple story lines. If you enjoy Ken Follett, this would be a great one for you. All in all a great read and a truly memorable ending."Mountains on the Horizon
"A haunting novel of the Arctic . . . Who knows what might emerge from those regions of the Arctic so cold and dark not even Inuit will venture there? Perhaps it is the ease by which the Arctic can kill you that gives O'Loughlin's novel its force."Philip Marchand, The National Post
Praise for Not Untrue and Not Unkind
"A graceful writer."The Guardian
"Intensely evocative."The New York Times
"Eloquent and thoughtful."Times Literary Supplement
"The most exciting first novel I have read in many years."Anne Enright, Booker Award-winning author of The Gathering
"A simply brilliant debut by an author of great poise and power."Tim Butcher, award-winning journalist and author of The Trigger
"A mesmerizing look at what was and what might have been. Highly recommended"For the Love of Books
Like ice floes in the Arctic, the pieces of O'Loughlin's (Toploader) latest novel bump and grind against one another until they merge at the finale. The main story takes place in present-day northernmost Canada, interspersed with characters, periods, and settings from the 1840s to the Cold War, and from Australia to Russia. The MacGuffin is a marine chronometer, which accompanied real-life Sir John Franklin in 1845 on his fatal search for the Northwest Passage. Neither he, the clock, nor much of the crew and ships were ever found, but somehow the timepiece ends up in a London auction house in 1999. Woven into this mystery is the present-time search of Nelson Nilsson for his missing brother, and Fay Morgan for information about her mysterious grandfather, who may have been involved in espionage. Was Hugh Morgan a disciple of Cecil Meares, an English adventurer who pops up here and there in history and this tale? The reader will move from chapter to chapter, wondering where the book is taking them and how things are connected, until, at the end, it may all be a chilly, snow-blown mirage--except for the bodies, and that clock. VERDICT Readers who delight in history and mystery mixed together will appreciate O'Loughlin's shifting drifts of reality and imagination.--W. Keith McCoy, Somerset Cty. Lib. Syst., Bridgewater, NJ
A massive, complex novel about a long-lost chronometer.In O'Loughlin's (Top Loader, 2011, etc.) acknowledgements, where he lists the prodigious amount of research that went into his novel, he describes the book as "a self-indulgent mess of cobbled-together myth and mystery." He began with a 2009 British newspaper article about the Arnold 294, a high-precision navigational chronometer that was taken on the unsuccessful 19th-century Franklin expedition to discover a Northwest passage and was believed lost but which had turned up in Britain 160 years later, converted into a carriage clock. How could this be? Like the "meshes of a net," this is the first of many narrative threads woven through O'Loughlin's labyrinthine tale. The main story involves Nelson Nilsson and his present-day search in the fierce cold and snow of the Arctic Circle for his missing geographer brother, Bert. He's soon joined by an Englishwoman, Fay Morgan, who needs help in her search for her missing grandfather, Hugh Morgan, a former apprentice to Cecil Meares, the dog handler for Scott's 1910 expedition to Antarctica. Then we're in 1841 at a festive ball being held on the decks of the expedition's two ships, the Erebus and the Terror. Set on three continents, the novel moves back and forth in time, mixing in fictional and historical figures. On this voyage, you'll encounter the explorer Roald Amundsen; the Mad Trapper of Rat River; and Jack London. Also making appearances are northern Canada's Distant Early Warning system and World War II Nazi meteorological stations in Greenland. At one point Nelson and Fay realize their separate searches are actually converging. Make a list of characters and keep it handy—maps are provided—to navigate this atmospheric, far-reaching novel. It may all be too much for some readers. A tour de force juggling act of narrative legerdemain.