Book Review: The Ice by Laline Paull

TheIceAbout the Book

It’s the day after tomorrow and the Arctic sea ice has melted. While global business carves up the new frontier, cruise ships race each other to ever-rarer wildlife sightings. The passengers of the Vanir have come seeking a polar bear. What they find is even more astonishing: a dead body.

It is Tom Harding, lost in an accident three years ago and now revealed by the melting ice of Midgard glacier. Tom had come to Midgard to help launch the new venture of his best friend of thirty years, Sean Cawson, a man whose business relies on discretion and powerful connections – and who was the last person to see him alive.  Their friendship had been forged by a shared obsession with Arctic exploration. And although Tom’s need to save the world often clashed with Sean’s desire to conquer it, Sean has always believed that underneath it all, they shared the same goals.

But as the inquest into Tom’s death begins, the choices made by both men – in love and in life – are put on the stand. And when cracks appear in the foundations of Sean’s glamorous world, he is forced to question what price he has really paid for a seat at the establishment’s table.  Just how deep do the lies go?

Format: eBook (256 pp.)        Publisher: Harper Collins UK/4th Estate
Published: 4th May 2017        Genre: Thriller

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My Review

I really enjoyed Laline Paull’s first book, The Bees. I thought it was quirky and inventive. So I was surprised when I started reading The Ice at how different in style it felt, almost as if it was the work of another author. The only thing the two books seem to share is an ecological message, in this case, focused on climate change and its affect on weather and sea levels.

The Ice is set in some near (but unfortunately all too believable) future in which global warming is causing freak weather events and has resulted in the melting of the polar ice cap, making the Trans Polar Route for shipping an actuality rather than a future possibility (as at present).  In the book, the opening up of this route has brought economic opportunities for interested parties but territorial consequences for adjoining countries.  For some of the vested interests, ecological considerations are very low on their list of priorities. Money and power is everything.

The picture of the world created in The Ice is one of high finance, arms dealing, surveillance, black ops, mercenaries and conspicuous consumption by rich and powerful individuals. As well as a thriller revolving around the truth about the death of Tom Harding, it’s a story of greed, ruthlessness, betrayal and how power and money can corrupt. However, it’s also about friendship, truth and redemption.

I’ll admit I found it a little hard at times to engage with the lead character, Sean Cawson, principally because he seemed to embody some male fantasy that all women want to have sex with him or would drop everything (no pun intended) to meet his needs at a time to suit him. However, the author did make me believe in the strength of his friendship with Tom, his grief at his death and the psychological impact of it on him, even years later.

Because it switches back and forth in time, sometimes without any indication in the chapter headings, the story was difficult to keep track of at some points. I also found it a little slow to begin with but felt the pace built up in the last third of the book to a gripping and shocking climax.  I found the excerpts from the journals of Arctic explorers between chapters really fascinating.

I received a review copy courtesy of NetGalley and publishers 4th Estate in return for an honest review.

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In three words: Ecological, mystery, chilling

Try something similar…Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfar (click here to read my review)

LalinePaullAbout the Author

Laline writes: I write books, I’ve written plays and screenplays and plan to do so again (in fact I’m working on the theatrical adaptation of The Bees). I work best secluded in nature or in the midst of a crowd of strangers. Introvert with the perfect job.

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3 thoughts on “Book Review: The Ice by Laline Paull

  1. I’ve been wanting to read The Bees. Just haven’t gotten to it. It’s interesting that Laline’s style is so different in this one. I wonder if authors are deliberately changing course after each book so they aren’t pigeonholed into a certain style? Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really liked The Bees, it was such a neat idea and so unusual. I did enjoy The Ice too but it just seemed a more conventional example of its genre, I.e. conspiracy thriller, albeit with an eco slant. I guess I had high expectations after The Bees. However, The Ice has had some great reviews.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Climate change is so real it is frightening. I’ve not heard of the Bees either and have just looked it up, it sounds really good, I’ve grown up with a father who keeps bees, so it hits a nerve. Thanks for the review.

    Liked by 1 person

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