This is two stories within a story. The first, set in modern day times, is about a young female journalist, Jo Harper, who falls in love with an arctic adventurer, Douglas Marshall. When Douglas is killed in a tragic accident, Jo is left to bring up their child alone. The child later falls ill and desperately needs a bone marrow transplant to survive. The one person who may be compatible is Douglas's son, John, from his first marriage. But John, who has fallen out with Jo, has disappeared and is nowhere to be found. He has a special interest in the 1847 Franklin expedition to the Arctic and, it is believed, may be in the area trying to uncover the last traces of that expedition.
This ties together very nicely with the second story, which describes the plight of the fateful Franklin expedition as the two ships, Terror and Erebus, and their crews cut their way through the Arctic ice looking for the north-west passage.
While set more than a century apart, both stories are essentially tales of survival against extraordinary odds.
McGregor weaves together history and drama to create an intriguing novel. Her writing is, at times, incredibly poetic, at others it tends towards melodrama. But, as a whole, this is a lovely multi-layered book, well researched and very authentic. While light, it's never fluffy, and would make perfect holiday reading for those looking for something a little different.