*A Newstatesman Book of the Year*
'Nimble, vital, unexpectedly affecting' Observer
Bestselling travel writer Horatio Clare joins an icebreaker for a voyage through the ice-packs of the far north. 'We are celebrating a hundred years since independence this year: how would you like to travel on a government icebreaker?' A message from the Finnish embassy launches Horatio Clare on a voyage around an extraordinary country and an unearthly place, the frozen Bay of Bothnia, just short of the Arctic circle. Travelling with the crew of Icebreaker Otso, Horatio, whose last adventure saw him embedded on Maersk container vessels for the bestseller Down to the Sea in Ships, discovers stories of Finland, of her mariners and of ice.
Aboard Otso Horatio gets to know the men who make up her crew, and explores Finland's history and character. Surrounded by the extraordinary colours and conditions of a frozen sea, he also comes to understand something of the complexity and fragile beauty of ice, a near-miraculous substance which cools the planet, gives the stars their twinkle and which may hold all our futures in its crystals.