The Navigator of New York

The Navigator of New York

Book - 2002
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Baker & Taylor
An outcast in nineteenth-century Newfoundland, Devlin Stead receives a letter from explorer Frederick Cook that sends him to New York to become Cook's protâegâe and to join him in his race to reach the North Pole before his arch-rival Peary.

Blackwell North Amer
Devlin Stead is an orphan in late-nineteenth-century Newfoundland being raised by his loving aunt and less than loving physician uncle. As a young child, he and his mother were suddenly abandoned by his father, Dr. Francis Stead, who fled north to practice medicine among the Eskimos. Distraught at his absence, his mother committed suicide by throwing herself into the icy ocean off Signal Hill. Too far away to return home, his father had joined the American Lieutenant Peary on one of his series of attempts to reach the North Pole, only to wander off from camp one night and disappear. He is presumed dead, and his body is never found. Devlin grows up an outcast and a loner.
And then one day, his uncle summons Dev to his medical office and hands him an extraordinary life-changing letter from Dr. Frederick Cook, a New York physician and explorer - the first of a series of letters that will alter everything he ever thought he knew about himself. Dev will sail to a New York bursting with the energy of a metropolis about to turn into the capital city of the globe to become Dr. Cook's protege, to be introduced into society, and eventually to accompany the doctor on his epic race to reach the Pole before his arch-rival, Peary. This trip will plunge Dev and Cook into worldwide controversy - and determine the younger man's fate.

Baker
& Taylor

Growing up as an outcast and an orphan in nineteenth-century Newfoundland, Devlin Stead receives a letter from New York physician and explorer Dr. Frederick Cook that sends him to New York to become Cook's protTgT, be introduced into society, and to accompany Cook on his epic race to reach the North Pole before his arch-rival Peary.

Publisher: New York : Doubleday, 2002
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780385507677
0385507674
Branch Call Number: FIC Johnston, W 2002
Characteristics: 483 pages ; 25 cm

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WVMLStaffPicks Jan 05, 2015

Nominated for the Giller Prize, this novel is loosely based on the controversy surrounding the race to the North Pole. Devlin Stead a young man from St. John’s leaves his home and travels to New York to track down his biological father and pursue his dream of being an explorer. He joins Dr. Frederick Cook’s team as they struggle to beat Commander Robert Peary in their quest for the pole. There is romance, and epic quest and magnificent descriptions of the bustling streets of Manhattan and the ever-shifting ice flows of the arctic. An intensely fascinating read.

r
rab1953
Aug 15, 2013

The period details and descriptions of New York and Newfoundland are distinct and memorable, which makes this tampering with historical figures the more puzzling, and hard to separate from the historical facts (as with The Colony of Unrequited Dreams). Perhaps that’s the point – history is always told selectively, with embellishments and from a point of view. The story leads to questions of what to accept (both for Devlin and for the reader) in historical narrative. It is an entertaining story with interesting characters, and it’s easy to get lost in the storytelling without worrying about what’s factual. As a reader, I’m uneasy about the stories told here, and perhaps should be equally uneasy about the other historical stories. But then, what can one accept?

a
AnamCara
Jan 25, 2008

Another of Johnston's books that was a great read.

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