The North Water
4.02/5 by 12193 users

The North Water


A nineteenth-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, The North Water weaves a superlative story of humanity under the most extreme conditions.

Title:The North Water
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:272 pages

    The North Water Reviews

  • Jeffrey Keeten
    Mar 17, 2016

    ”There is no sin left now, there is only the blood and the water and the ice; there is only life and death and the grey-green spaces in between. He will not die he tells himself, not now, not ever. ...

  • Doug H
    Nov 20, 2015

    Jack London on Steroids!This novel contains foul language, horrific gore, rape, murder, animal cruelty, and other examples of total moral bankruptcy and I absolutely loved it. Why? How could I? I love...

  • karen
    Aug 20, 2015

    congratulations! semifinalist in goodreads' best historical fiction category 2016!"I'd venture the Good Lord don't spend much time up here in the North Water," he says with a smile. "It's most probabl...

  • Tatiana
    Nov 10, 2016

    I would call this dicklit. I reserve this identifier for pseudo-manly books, like The North Water, which pretends to be some kind of deep, tough literature, but fails to hide that its author has an al...

  • mark monday
    Jan 01, 2017

    synopsis: grueling misadventures on a 19th century whaling ship.well I suppose I have to admire how sustained the effort is. Ian McGuire is relentlessly focused on the visceral, that's for certain ".....

  • ???  2.?
    Sep 25, 2016

    Now this, this is the adventure I’ve been looking for! I couldn’t help but notice several reviewers comparing this to a Jack London tale, and it’s hard for me not to follow suit. As a kid, I was...

  • Cody
    Feb 25, 2016

    McGuire holds nothing back in this gruesome novel about a whaling expedition gone wrong in the middle of the 19th century. If you’re looking for a comparison in terms of the amount of grisly detail,...

  • Tom Mathews
    Mar 25, 2016

    I’m not overly squeamish. In the last couple years I have read Blood Meridian, reputedly Cormac McCarthy’s bloodiest work, and The Ruins, by Scott Smith, another notoriously sanguineous selection....

  • Susan
    Nov 06, 2015

    It is 1857 and a whaling ship is about to leave for the Artic. With Mr Baxter as the wily financier funding the expedition and an assembled crew which includes Captain Brownlee, perceived as ‘unluck...

  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    Sep 14, 2016

    I started this because it was named to the Man Booker Prize longlist in 2016, and I was hearing good things about it from some of my reading friends. Despite not being named to the short list, I decid...