The Navigator of New York
By Wayne Johnston
(Anchor, Paperback, 9781400031092, 496pp.)
Publication Date: September 9, 2003
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Devlin Stead grows up a lonely orphan in late 19th century Newfoundland. When he begins receiving letters from the esteemed but mysterious explorer Dr. Frederick Cook, they entirely change his understanding of who he is and what he might become. Invited by Dr. Cook to become his apprentice, Dev eagerly heads for New York City, where he is introduced into society and joins his mentor in epic attempts to reach the North Pole before Cook’s archrival Robert Edwin Peary. When Dev is thrust into international controversy, he must master a series of revelations about his family that will determine his fate.
In spellbinding prose, the author of the acclaimed Colony of Unrequited Dreams recreates the romance, the politics and the peril of the legendary race for the North Pole. Brilliantly rooted in history, The Navigator of New York is a fascinating exploration of the quest for discovery, and how it is remembered.
Wayne Johnston is the author of several novels, including The Colony of Unrequited Dreams and The Divine Ryans, and the memoir Baltimore’s Mansion. He was born and raised in Newfoundland and now lives in Toronto.
“An ambitious, stately, far-flung and sometimes sly account of back-stabbing polar exploration . . .enjoyably exotic” –The New York Times
“By the time he’s finished describing this remarkable adventure, Johnson has braved the coldest spot on earth but delivered us to a place of genuine warmth.”—Christian Science Monitor
“[Johnston] finds breathtaking poetry in the ice of the Arctic and rich drama in the politics of polar exploration.”-- New York Daily News
“A masterpiece . . . Johnston is a master plotter whose wise words sting and stab.”—Entertainment Weekly
“Beautiful, evocative . . . Johnston is an accomplished storyteller, with a gift for both description and character. . . . Arctic exploration, first love, and family secrets blend perfectly.” –Booklist
“A historical novel with a resonant significance for the present. . . . The detail in The Navigator of New York is exact and gripping. . . . It is good that people write novels like this: bold, fat, story and character-led, filled with traditional novelistic virtues.” –The Ottawa Citizen
“Generously stuffed with crisp writing, rich characterizations, and haunting descriptions of the harsh beauty of the Arctic. . . . Johnston is a great novelist in the making.” –Kirkus Reviews (starred)
“It is a great pleasure to see Johnston continue to work this fictional territory he has discovered and claimed, with much finer results than the claiming and discovery of physical landmarks by such ‘navigators’ as Cook and Peary.” –Toronto Star
“Johnston has written yet another historical novel worth faking the flu and staying in bed to read. . . . As Stead emerges a richer character at the end, so, too, will you.” –Chatelaine
“The thrill of polar exploration, the beauty and terror of glaciers, and the horror of the long Arctic nights are splendidly evoked. The secrets . . . are slowly revealed, adding intrigue and suspense.” –Library Journal
“A captivating narrative that delves into both the noble and the seedier aspects of the human need to discover and explore. . . . Johnston’s ability to illuminate historical settings and situations continues to grow with each book, and this powerful effort is his best to date.” –Publishers Weekly (starred)
“Johnston writes evocatively of 19th-century Victorian Newfoundland and bustling turn-of-the-century New York. . . . Spellbinding.” –Toronto Globe and Mail
“A daring, complex quest tale. . . . Love holds sway twice and death takes several surly bows while the stage is cleared for the poignant finale. And all the time, invisibly present, Wayne Johnston himself, the novel’s sprite, obsessed with obsession, with driven men, has so much fun you just have to join in.” –The Scotsman (Edinburgh)