The Navigator of New York
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Devlin Stead grows up a lonely orphan in late 19th century Newfoundland. When he begins receiving letters from the esteemed but mysterious explorer Dr. Frederick Cook, they entirely change his understanding of who he is and what he might become. Invited by Dr. Cook to become his apprentice, Dev eagerly heads for New York City, where he is introduced into society and joins his mentor in epic attempts to reach the North Pole before Cook’s archrival Robert Edwin Peary. When Dev is thrust into international controversy, he must master a series of revelations about his family that will determine his fate.
In spellbinding prose, the author of the acclaimed Colony of Unrequited Dreams recreates the romance, the politics and the peril of the legendary race for the North Pole. Brilliantly rooted in history, The Navigator of New York is a fascinating exploration of the quest for discovery, and how it is remembered.
I said. “If it is not yet over for Peary, think how much remains for us to do.” He shook his head. “Not everything is lost,” I insisted, fighting back tears, as I had been doing for hours, though I had let them flow freely in my room the night before. When we met in the morning, my swollen eyes made it so plain to Dr. Cook how I had spent the night that for a moment he took me in his arms. “We may have to do things some other way than we had planned,” I said. “That’s all.” “I am sorry for what
it was like an accusation, the suggestion being that haste was necessary to prevent my mother from complaining or speaking badly of him to others. He affected the air of a good, generous-to-a-fault, easily imposed-on man, harried by his spendthrift sister-in-law, the wife of his delinquent brother, whose ultimate intention was to milk him dry. Going by the surgery, Aunt Daphne would look at Edward’s name just below my father’s on the shingle. There he was, the shingle seemed to say, the last in
of them with seal oil, the oil of last resort, which Aunt Daphne kept for emergencies in metal cans in the shed behind the house. I quickly skirted the city streets just after dark and, the lantern lighting my way, followed the narrow road up Signal Hill. The sky was cloudless, the moon almost full. All that remained of the wind that all day had been blowing from the west was a faint breeze. I stood on the hill, looking down at the blue-white ice. The ice. A world in which everything was made
fallen. “ ‘If only those who found your little joke so amusing could see you now,’ said Peary. “ ‘She has had only a little too much to drink, sir,’ I said. ‘That’s all.’ “Peary shook his head as though in disbelief. ‘She, a stranger, berates me for my treatment of my fiancée. And here she lies on the floor with an engagement ring on her finger and a milkboy from Brooklyn in her arms.’ “Someone must have told him that with my brothers I ran a small milk business. Peary was himself born on a
complaint.’ “ Dr. Cook looked at me. “Why, you may wonder, did Peary, having told Francis about me, appoint both of us to his expedition? In Peary’s estimation, Francis was an ineffectual cuckold who would never find the nerve to exact revenge on anyone who did him wrong. As for me, when I applied for the position of medical officer on the North Greenland expedition—having set aside my own distaste for Peary in order to gain some experience in polar exploration under a man I knew I could learn