ICE PALACE by Edna Ferber


Email this review


Alaska is the real heroine here- with her advocates and her court attendants the members of the cast. There's Chris Storm, native daughter, glamorous, colorful, with a story so incredible that it has to be taken on faith. Brought up by two grandfathers, she might well have been caught in the meshes of their friendship, their rivalry, their enmity. One grandfather, Thor Storm, had sought in Alaska in his youth that freedom of the frontier it still afforded- and stayed, victim of their lure, seeking through the weekly he published, to maintain that freedom. The other grandfather, ""Czar"" Kennedy, was High Mogul, big time operator, who had made his millions in Alaska, but who milked her and played in with the ""Outside"" -- men from Seattle and San Francisco and Washington who stripped her of her riches for their own ends. Chris was brought up by the two of them, with Bridle Ballantyne providing the balance wheel, and Chris managed to survive and be a person in her own right. Czar thought his millions could call the tune, but Thor was determined that Chris know Alaska from end to end before she went Outside. This is the story of the duel for control; it is the story of the men who wanted Chris; but first and last it is a close up portrait of Alaska, a loving, penetrating portrait, with her contradictions, her breath taking beauties, her chauvinism -- and the tragedy of her political impotence. At times the story bogs down in the travelogue, and the characters seem puppets designed to act against a stage that dwarfs them. The story develops by flashback in counterpoint:- Thor's story the last to emerge -- Czar's and Bridie's- and woven back and forth the story of Chris. There is need for more understanding of Alaska, and Edna Ferber has achieved what might have been done in more orthodox form.

Pub Date: March 20th, 1958
ISBN: 0899682782
Publisher: Doubleday