In 1898, Doctor Edward Byrne slips on the ice of the Arcturus glacier in the Canadian Rockies and slides into a crevasse, wedged upside down nearly sixty feet below the surface. As he fights losing consciousness, a stray beam of sunlight illuminates the ice in front of him and Byrne sees something in the blue-green radiance that will forever link him to the ancient glacier. In this moment, his life's purpose becomes uncovering the mystery of the icefield that almost was his tomb. Along the way, he encounters similarly fixated individuals, each immersed in their own quest: the healer and storyteller Sara; the bohemian travel writer Freya Becker; the entrepreneur Trask; the poet Hal Rowan; and Elspeth, greenhouse keeper and Byrne's lover.
First published in 1995, Wharton's Icefields is an astonishing historical novel set in a mesmerizing literary landscape, one that is constantly being altered by the surging and retreating glacier and unpredictable weather. Here--where characters are pulled into deep chasms of ice as well as the stories and histories they tell one another--is a vivid, daring, and crisply written book that reveals the human spirit, loss, myth, and elusive truths.
This updated Landmark Edition includes an author interview with Smaro Kamboureli and an Afterword by award-winning writer Suzette Mayr.