Transported part way along on his geologist father's latest get-rich prospecting expedition, Matthew Morgan (Mattoosie to his easily acquired Eskimo friend Kayak) must wait in a Baffin Island town while his father and Charlie, the Australian pilot, go off in a helicopter named ""Waltzing Matilda"" and fail to return as scheduled. Bad weather hampers the air search and so Kayak, who should know better, suggests that the two boys sneak off by snowmobile to rescue Mr. Morgan. But their spare gas spills and the boys must face the 75-mile return trip on foot, through a snowstorm that beats them back and covers their tracks, and with a limited food supply that is soon exhausted. But Matthew proves ""pretty tough for a kaluna boy--like an Inuk, a real man""--and Kayak's knowledge and resourcefulness get them through to the point where, as they float down a river on breaking ice, Matthew's ""Arizona trick"" with a flashing mirror alerts friend Charlie in the returned Matilda. As a novel this is stiff and perfunctory, but you can trust Houston as a guide to the country; and the knowledge that these awesome dangers and desperate survival measures are based on an Eskimo boy's actual ordeal supplies all the reality the adventure story requires.