It begins with a chance encounter at the top of the world.
Fay Morgan and Nelson Nilsson have each arrived in Inuvik, Canada – 120 miles north of the Arctic Circle – searching for answers about a family member: Nelson for his estranged older brother, Fay for her disappeared grandfather. They soon learn that these two men have an unexpected link – a hidden share in one of the greatest enduring mysteries of polar exploration.
This is the riddle of the ‘Arnold 294’ chronometer, which reappeared in Britain over a hundred years after it was recorded as lost in the Arctic with the ships and men of Sir John Franklin’s Northwest Passage expedition. The secret history of this elusive timepiece, Fay and Nelson will discover, ties them and their families to a journey that echoes across two centuries.
In a feat of extraordinary scope and ambition, Ed O’Loughlin moves between a frozen present and an ever-thawing past, and from the minds of two present-day wanderers to the lives of some of polar history’s most enigmatic figures. Minds of Winter is a novel about ice and time and their ability to preserve or destroy, of mortality and loss and our dreams of transcending them.
Minds of Winter is published by Riverrun Fiction and is available from Amazon.
Spying inside the Embargoed Zone is an expensive business, not to say risky, and Agent Cobra wants his wages in full. But his down-at-heel spymaster can only offer payment in kind – and the first thing he finds in an unattended storeroom. And so both men are sucked into the mysterious Toploader project, a race to retrieve a deadly secret from inside the world’s first – and best – walled-off terrorist entity. Also caught in the crossfire are a resourceful teenage girl, a gung-ho reporter, a hapless drone-pilot and at least one very unfortunate donkey. Toploader is about to make their lives a lot more dangerous, and an awful lot more bizarre.
For decades old Cartwright has been the office bully, a snoop and a henchman, so few at the paper mourn him when he is found rather messily dead. But to a burnt-out younger colleague, Owen Simmons, Cartwright bestows a back-handed legacy, forcing him to face up to the passion, heartbreak and regrets of his previous life as a foreign correspondent.
Not Untrue and Not Unkind is Owen’s story, a recollection of life and love amongst a transient group of friends and rivals reporting forgotten wars in Africa.
“In both concept and execution the novel is a serious piece of work at once vastly entertaining and ambitious on a scale that leaves much of contemporary Irish fiction looking woefully insubstantial….there will be few better historical novels published this year.”
The Sunday Times
“An enthralling series of interlocking mysteries; masterfully evokes the beauty of polar regions.”
Gavin Francis, author
“Ed O’Loughlin’s Minds of Winter … may well be the Franklin novel to end all Franklin novels. Never have so many different narrative threads been taken up and twined together.. It would seem a daunting task to connect so many historical figures in a single volume, something like trapping demons in a cursed box, but the talisman that O’Loughlin employs is deceptively modest: a single marine chronometer, Arnold 294, which showed up intact at a 2009 auction in the UK when it was supposed to have been issued to Franklin’s ships 164 years previously.”
The Arctic Book Review