The North Water

The North Water

by

One of The New York Times Book Review's 10 Best Books of the Year

National Bestseller

Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize

Winner of the RSL Encore Award

Finalist for the Los Angeles Book Prize

A New York Times and Wall Street Journal Bestseller

Named a Best Book of the Year by Chicago Tribune, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, New Statesman, Publishers Weekly, and Chicago Public Library


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, Ian McGuire's The North Water weaves a superlative story of humanity under the most extreme conditions.

Title:The North Water
Edition Language:English
ISBN:1627795944
Format Type:
Number of Pages:272 pages

    The North Water Reviews

  • Jeffrey Keeten

    ?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

    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

    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

    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

    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.?

    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...

  • Paul Bryant

    Scene 1Enter a man followed by a manMan : Whut? Awk! (dies)Scene 2Enter a whale followed by several whalersWhale : Aw shit! Ugh! No! (dies)Scene 3Enter a dog followed by a bearDog : Yah! Fuck you! Bar...

  • Cody

    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

    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

    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...