The Arctic Fury by Greer Macallister begins in October 1854 in the Massachusetts Superior Court, Boston. Virginia Reeve is on trial for the kidnapping and murder of Caprice Collins, a wealthy Boston adventurer. As she gazes out into the court room, she sees five (5) women on the front row, who are there to support her. They too are survivors of the failed arctic expedition that resulted in Caprice Collins’ death. The Collins family controls a local newspaper, and the stories have called Virginia “The Arctic Fury”.
The novel then goes back to April 1853 when Virginia is mysteriously asked by Lady Jane Franklin ( a real historical figure) to lead a group of 11 other women on an arctic expedition to find her missing husband, Sir John Franklin, a British naval explorer. Lady Franklin thinks a group of women might find success where the British navy has failed. As it turns out, Caprice Collins decides to bring her maid, making the number an unlucky 13. Lady Jane is very careful to make sure that there is no evidence of her involvement. After their initial meeting, all communication is done through her male associate, Brooks. None of the other women chosen met either Lady Jane or Brooks.
At the time of trial, Lady Jane, who is in England, denies knowing Virginia or funding the expedition. Unfortunately, Virginia’s appointed attorney was most likely paid for by the Collins family and is entirely incompetent. As the trial progresses, the novel’s chapters go back and forth between it and the expedition, until the real truth is finally revealed. The reader also learns why Virginia and the other twelve women would want to go on such a journey to this frozen land. For most, it is much more than the reward money if they succeed.
5-Stars for this combination of suspense and legal thriller. Book Club recommened. This book will be publised on December 1, 2020. Thanks to #Netgalley and #Sourcebooks Landmark for my advanced reader copy.