The slight piquancy of the style of the 19th century travelogue writing does not hinder the swift action of this tale. Charles Francis Hall committed himself to tracing the fate of an English Arctic expedition, abandoning family and all material prospects in favor of this humanitarian search. A total novice at Arctic travel, he flew in the face of accepted scientific opinion of the day that Sir John Franklin's party had been indubitably destroyed. The story is told in the first person by Adam Burritt, a young former shoemaker's apprentice who met his fellow Cincinnatian when he signed aboard the New London whaler taking Hall to the Arctic for the first time, just before the Civil War. Their subsequent establishment of the sad fate of the Franklin party, and their eventual ill-starred campaign to explore the North Pole region, conducted from the refitted Navy tug Polaris, in the company of faithful Eskimo companions, make exciting reading for the addicts.