I am not much of a reader. I might plow through two books a year. My wife on the other hand will go through two books in two weeks. Recently we both read a new novel by author Whit Fraser entitled “Cold Edge Of Heaven”. This novel follows Mr. Fraser’s first book “True North Rising”, a memoir of his work in Arctic communities published several years ago.
Cold Edge Of Heaven is a mystery thriller set in 1924 in the high Arctic Islands of Canada. Three RCMP officers are dropped off on a windy cold gravel beach at Dundas Harbour, a desolate Arctic outpost on Devon Island. Charged with asserting Canada’s sovereignty over the vast Far North, the Mounties and their Inuit guides prepare for two years of isolation and service on the fabled Northwest Passage.
No amount of training- not even the horrors of the First World War- would prepare the officers for ice-locked loneliness and threats from ocean storms, blizzards, months of darkness and marauding polar bears. The physical and mental strain of living in such an environment is made worse by two mysterious violent deaths. I will not divulge any more of the plot except to say it is also a poignant love story.
The twists and turns of the plot were fascinating and surprising. I was particularly taken with Fraser’s description of the beauty and starkness of these high Arctic Islands and of the Inuit culture, traditions and way of life surviving and thriving on the land. His descriptions of the Arctic and Inuit traditions are so colourful and accurate that they could only come from an individual like Mr. Fraser who has spent a lifetime recording, reporting on and living in the Arctic and among its Peoples.
Cold Edge Of Heaven is a cracking good read! You will not be disappointed if you enjoy a tale of mystery, murder and love.