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Publisher's Summary

A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
A 19th-century whaling ship sets sail for the Arctic with a killer aboard in this dark, sharp, and highly original tale that grips like a thriller.
Behold the man: stinking, drunk, and brutal. Henry Drax is a harpooner on the Volunteer, a Yorkshire whaler bound for the rich hunting waters of the arctic circle. Also aboard for the first time is Patrick Sumner, an ex-army surgeon with a shattered reputation, no money, and no better option than to sail as the ship's medic on this violent, filthy, and ill-fated voyage.
In India, during the Siege of Delhi, Sumner thought he had experienced the depths to which man can stoop. He had hoped to find temporary respite on the Volunteer, but rest proves impossible with Drax on board. The discovery of something evil in the hold rouses Sumner to action. And as the confrontation between the two men plays out amid the freezing darkness of an arctic winter, the fateful question arises: Who will survive until spring?
With savage, unstoppable momentum and the blackest wit, Ian McGuire's The North Water weaves a superlative story of humanity under the most extreme conditions.
©2016 Ian McGuire (P)2016 Macmillan Audio
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Critic Reviews

" The North Water...is a great white shark of a book - swift, terrifying, relentless and unstoppable." ( The New York Times)
"Riveting and darkly brilliant.... The North Water feels like the result of an encounter between Joseph Conrad and Cormac McCarthy in some run-down port as they offer each other a long, sour nod of recognition." ( The New York Times Book Review)
"[An] audacious work of historical suspense fiction.... It's the poetic precision of McGuire's harsh vision of the past that makes his novel such a standout...absolutely transporting." (NPR's Fresh Air)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By K. Wade on 12-23-17

Reader / Listener Beware

Reader beware. This is the most unrelentingly brutal novel I have ever read. If I were rating this book based solely on the author's literary ability, this review would boost an additional star. It is compelling, well-researched, and carefully assembled. That said, it is frequently revolting in its graphically detailed descriptions of the slaughter of animals and humans alike. Please do not assume that this book is for you, based on the fact that the New York Times lists it as one of the ten best books of 2016. Beautifully read by John Keating.

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16 of 16 people found this review helpful


By Clay on 06-20-17

Dramatic but good narration

Where does The North Water rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Very high.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

Yes, it was a very suspenseful story. A little bit gruesome and disturbing at times.

What about John Keating’s performance did you like?

I only wrote this review to say that while at first I thought the narrator was overdramatic, I got used to it quickly, and overall I very much appreciated him. He's a very competent narrator, with a nice voice and accent(s), and he uses his range clearly to distinguish the different characters' voices in dialog. I would put him in the top 10% of narrators. I had to get the Kindle book, and read that at times, because narration was sometimes too intense for my bedtime reading, because of how intensely disturbing some of the events are.

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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