The Long VoyageJohn Christopher
The novel opens in the mild wet streets of Dublin near the quay where the ship was loading - general cargo, horses, a few passengers. It ends in the vast waste of Greenland, the terrible snow desert broken by jagged mountain ranges and swept by blizzards, where survival is an odds-against chance, without shelter an impossibility. Between, there is the long voyage.
The passengers who boarded the Kreya in Dublin were en route for the Continent - a young widow with her daughter going to a new life in Holland, a circus family returning to their native Poland after an Irish tour, accompanied by their performing bear. At Fishguard they were joined by an English businessman and his wife. On the surface all was ordinary and in good order; as good order as the ship herself, with her Danish crew and the small but forceful Captain Olsen.
The break was quick and disastrous. The great storm, a rudder smashed beyond repair, a mutiny - and in the end the Kreya is a helpless storm-driven ship, a tiny battered vessel adrift in the huge ocean. Aboard her, the passengers and the few remaining ship's officers are driven irrevocably on by wind and tide until she lies, at last, lodged in the great Arctic ice-pack. It is then that the last and most terrible part of their journey begins.
This is a book in which human convicts and the immense forces of nature combine to produce a story of compulsive power. It is as exciting as anything that John Christopher has written.
Christoper Samuel Youd, a.k.a. John Christopher (1922-2012), was a British science fiction author. He is best known for The Tripods trilogy.