Orion, £7.99, 243pp £7.59 from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030
Dark Matter, By Michelle Paver
Friday 21 October 2011
The popular children's writer has turned her hand to spooking adults with a polar ghost story. Pre-war London is a gloomy place to be and 28-year-old Jack Miller is poor, lonely and desperate to escape his rented room in Tooting.
Offered the chance to be the wireless operator on an Arctic expedition with a group of amateur Oxbridge explorers, he seizes the opportunity.
The five-man expedition makes its way across the Barents Sea, but by the time they reach their base camp tempers are frayed.
As the arctic light fades, so do Jack's companions, succumbing to illness and injury until eventually Jack finds himself alone... or so he thinks. A chilling period piece, Dark Matter cunningly illustrates how fear, rather than death, is the great equaliser.
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