At the centre of The Navigator of New York is the rivalry between Robert Peary and Frederick Cook to be the first American to reach the North Pole. Its protagonist, however, is Devlin Stead, a young man from St John's, Newfoundland. Devlin's mother dies, in mysterious circumstances, when he is only five, and he endures a lonely childhood before discovering the truth about his parentage. That discovery transforms his life: he finds his true father and embarks on a journey of unbelievable risk. His adventure brings him celebrity, acclaim from New York 'society', real love, and finally the truth about the bitter feud between two strange, driven men.
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(197mm x 130mm x 33mm)
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
Set in the early years of the 20th century and centred round the race between Robert Peary and Frederick Cook to the North Pole, this is in part a novel about the lure of the Pole for American explorers. Johnston describes the mental and emotional reactions of the explorers faced with polar conditions and Eskimos whose language and culture they do not understand. There are powerful passages dealing with the phenomenon of enduring days which consist of 'an hour-long twilight'. Beyond the narrative framework, however, the novel is about the relationship between fathers and sons. Devlin Stead, the protagonist, discovers that he is not the son of a man he has always thought of as his father. Devlin reacts strongly to this discovery. Both his biological and his adoptive father were involved with expeditions, and consequently, he himself embarks upon a journey of discovery, seeking both to understand the hostile relationship between two major explorers, and to find his own true nature. At the end of the novel, he is able to understand and forgive his mother, and, for the first time, fully to embrace love. This is a breathtaking novel, beautifully plotted and rich in character and incident. Most striking of all is the evocation of place - bustling New York contrasted with the desolate cold of the Arctic, which in turn reflects the suffering Devlin undergoes. A great achievement. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Wayne Johnston
Wayne Johnston was born and raised in the St John's area of Newfoundland. He is the author of five previous novels including The Colony of Unrequited Dreams, which was an international bestseller and will be made into a film. Johnston is also the author of an award-winning and bestselling memoir, Baltimore's Mansion. He lives in Toronto.