When history looks through the annals of polar exploration, it is sure to deem Sir John Franklin's 1845 campaign in search of the Northwest Passage as the darkest chapter. All 129 men would be lost to the ice; and nothing retrieved from an inventory that included two Greenwich chronometers given to the expedition.
When historians analyze the most profound mysteries of the modern age, they therefore remain mystified as to just how one of those very same timepieces would reappear in London - crudely disguised as a Victorian carriage clock -over a century and a half after being recorded as lost in the famous disaster.
It is a real-life mystery that did, and still continues to, defy an explanation.
When Nelson Nilsson catches the eye of the lone female in the arrivals hall of Inuvik airport in the Northern Territories of Canada, the last thing his life needs is further complication. Still unable to comprehend the enigmatic obsession that led his brother to take his own life, Nelson just wants to get in his care and drive. When travel-weary Fay Morgan looks up and mistakes Nelson for a taxi driver, she realizes for the first time that she has finally made it to the one place on earth that may hold the answer to her burning question. And when she capitalizes on Nelson's good nature and obtains a lift, she feels fate is on her side.
It is an improbable meeting that will unearth an impossible connection: as the questions Nelson has about his present, and those Fay has about her past, share a common link -itself inextricably tied to the movements of an elusive timepiece.~Goodreads Blurb
It’s been pretty cold up here in Montana lately. We had windchills of -40 and there were warnings not to spend much time outside in fear of frostbite symptoms. So of course, I decided now would be a good time to crack open Minds of Winter. This epic mystery novel about the polar explorers spans a good chunk of time and a fair few pages. A mass of story lines and new characters added throughout, it was hard at first to really get into the story. Once the connections between characters and the years became more apparent, found it difficult to put it down. Author Ed O’Loughlin has masterfully drawn everything together. It takes talent to be able to plot out a mystery and to leave clues and little breadcrumbs for the readers. Many times authors will end up giving such emphasis on these clues, they end up becoming stereotypes or a game of Clue. Closer to the end, I found myself getting more and more excited as we seemed to finally be getting closer to solving everything. While I didn’t get the exact closure I wanted, I think the way O’Loughlin finished it was even better.
Having read some other reviewers, who weren’t comfortable with the sheer length or felt it was in need of being broken down into multiple books, I have to staunchly disagree. There was so much information and so much detail, I think it would have done the story a great disservice to chop it up. Even the modern day characters, who we were discovering the past with, held up as solid characters and not as cardboard cutouts to spoon feed us facts and information. I would recommend this to folks who enjoy historical mysteries and multiple story lines. If you enjoy Ken Follett, this would be a great one for you. All in all a great read and a truly memorable ending.
*This eBook was provided by NetGalley and Quercus Publishing in exchange for honest feedback*
Ed O’Loughlin grew up in Kildare town, Ireland, where he moved from his native Toronto, Canada, aged six. After completing his studies at Trinity College Dublin and Dublin City University, he reported from Dublin and Africa for The Irish Times, and was Middle East correspondent for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age of Melbourne.
His first novel, Not Untrue & Not Unkind was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2009 and shortlisted for the Kerry Group Irish Fiction Award.
His second novel, Toploader, a darkly comic vision of the “war against terror”, was published by Quercus in 2011. All You Can Eat, a novella satirising the Irish economic crash, appeared in 2013.
His third novel, Minds of Winter, was published by Riverrun in August 2016.
He lives in Dublin with his wife and two children.
Freelance Editor & Reviewer