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Labyrinth of Ice
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Labyrinth of Ice

The Triumphant and Tragic Greely Polar Expedition

By Buddy Levy
Narrated by Will Damron / 13 hours 13 minutes
Bookseller Recommendation

Labyrinth of Ice

“There are very few narratives of the tribulations and deprivations of polar expedition. Ernest Shackleton’s is the most well-known; the Franklin Expedition’s is the most horrific, but we have no survivors to recount it for us. The Greely Expedition of 1881, however, remains largely unknown. Here, Buddy Levy has resurrected the forgotten story of the U.S. Army Signal Corps’ participation in the First International Polar Year explorations using the recollections and diaries of the participants. That anyone survived is almost incredible; that we have their stories and photographs even more so. Gripping.”

Sausalito Books by the Bay image Jeff L Battis, Sausalito Books by the Bay

"Listen to this if you want to hear a narrator at the top of his game recount a fascinating--and at times disturbing--true story of adventure, disaster, discovery, cannibalism, and more. Will Damron makes Levy's fascinating account of the Greely (Polar) Expedition come to life...This is a harrowing adventure story and a great listen." — AudioFile Magazine

Based on the author's exhaustive research, the incredible true story of the Greely Expedition, one of the most harrowing adventures in the annals of polar exploration.

In July 1881, Lt. A.W. Greely and his crew of 24 scientists and explorers were bound for the last region unmarked on global maps. Their goal: Farthest North. What would follow was one of the most extraordinary and terrible voyages ever made.

Greely and his men confronted every possible challenge—vicious wolves, sub-zero temperatures, and months of total darkness—as they set about exploring one of the most remote, unrelenting environments on the planet. In May 1882, they broke the 300-year-old record, and returned to camp to eagerly await the resupply ship scheduled to return at the end of the year. Only nothing came.

250 miles south, a wall of ice prevented any rescue from reaching them. Provisions thinned and a second winter descended. Back home, Greely’s wife worked tirelessly against government resistance to rally a rescue mission.

Months passed, and Greely made a drastic choice: he and his men loaded the remaining provisions and tools onto their five small boats, and pushed off into the treacherous waters. After just two weeks, dangerous floes surrounded them. Now new dangers awaited: insanity, threats of mutiny, and cannibalism. As food dwindled and the men weakened, Greely's expedition clung desperately to life.

Labyrinth of Ice tells the true story of the heroic lives and deaths of these voyagers hell-bent on fame and fortune—at any cost—and how their journey changed the world.

Praise for Labyrinth of Ice:

“Polar exploration is utter madness. It is the insistence of life where life shouldn’t exist. And so, Labyrinth of Ice shows you exactly what happens when the unstoppable meets the unmovable. Buddy Levy outdoes himself here. The details and story are magnificent." - Brad Meltzer, New York Time bestselling author of The First Conspiracy

“An engaging, superbly written, and meticulously researched chronicle of the Greely expedition that proves it is one of the most engaging adventure narratives ever. With cinematic prose, great economy of language, and vivid descriptions, Levy places readers in the middle of the action … More than a nonfiction book about an expedition, Labyrinth of Ice reads like an outstanding script for an action movie." — NPR

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