Home > The Frozen Deep by Wilkie Collins
This week I read Wilkie Collins’ The Frozen Deep from the fabulous Hesperus Press .
It’s about two men and two women–the women are the dearest of friends; the men, bitter rivals, though only one knows that, but I get ahead of myself. One of the women is married to a First Lieutenant on a ship bound for the arctic. She’s very close to the younger woman, Clara. Both of the previously mentioned men are also sailors–one, Richard, has just returned from Africa and the other, Frank, is set to go to the arctic with First Lieutenant Crayford. Richard left for Africa some years ago under the assumption that Clara was his for the taking upon his return, but she’s in love with Frank. When her spurned paramour finds out she’s no longer his (she never was, really, he just presumed she was) he vows revenge on his rival, even though he’s no idea who that man is.
Once he discovers the man he so despises is on the arctic expedition, Richard wrangles his way aboard though he’s only just returned. The boats get trapped on the ice and all of the men come to depend (even moreso than usual) upon one another for their sanity and survival. Richard spends this time trying to figure out which one of his compatriots is his rival in love and eventually does so. The ending wasn’t what I expected, but in a good way–I highly recommend this taut, suspence-filled, beautifully written, little-known gem by Mr Collins.