Labyrinth of Ice
The Triumphant and Tragic Greely Polar Expedition
“A thrilling and harrowing story. If it’s a cliche to say I couldn’t put this book down, well, too bad: I couldn’t put this book down.” —Jess Walter, bestselling author of Beautiful Ruins
“Polar exploration is utter madness. It is the insistence of life where life shouldn’t exist. And so, Labyrinth of Ice shows you exactly what happens when the unstoppable meets the unmovable. Buddy Levy outdoes himself here. The details and story are magnificent.” —Brad Meltzer, bestselling author of The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington
Based on the author's exhaustive research, the incredible true story of the Greely Expedition, one of the most harrowing adventures in the annals of polar exploration.
In July 1881, Lt. A.W. Greely and his crew of 24 scientists and explorers were bound for the last region unmarked on global maps. Their goal: Farthest North. What would follow was one of the most extraordinary and terrible voyages ever made.
Greely and his men confronted every possible challenge—vicious wolves, sub-zero temperatures, and months of total darkness—as they set about exploring one of the most remote, unrelenting environments on the planet. In May 1882, they broke the 300-year-old record, and returned to camp to eagerly await the resupply ship scheduled to return at the end of the year. Only nothing came.
250 miles south, a wall of ice prevented any rescue from reaching them. Provisions thinned and a second winter descended. Back home, Greely’s wife worked tirelessly against government resistance to rally a rescue mission.
Months passed, and Greely made a drastic choice: he and his men loaded the remaining provisions and tools onto their five small boats, and pushed off into the treacherous waters. After just two weeks, dangerous floes surrounded them. Now new dangers awaited: insanity, threats of mutiny, and cannibalism. As food dwindled and the men weakened, Greely's expedition clung desperately to life.
Labyrinth of Ice tells the true story of the heroic lives and deaths of these voyagers hell-bent on fame and fortune—at any cost—and how their journey changed the world.