The Blue Ice by Hammond Innes

InnesTheBlueIceLuxorNarrator: Jerry Farden

Publisher: Recorded Books (1989)

Length: 9 hours 30 mins

Author’s Page

This book was originally published in 1948 with the story being set in the 1950s. So, today, it reads a bit like historical fiction with plenty of action and a little romance thread woven in. George Farnell, a mineralogist, disappeared 10 years ago. Now a lump of thorite and a poem in a whale meat shipment from Norway has turned up, along with news that a war hero’s body was discovered on the largest Norwegian glacier. Bill Gansert, another mineral expert, reluctantly heads to Norway to investigate the possibility of a rich thorite deposit. He’s joined by a sturdy ship crew, including his sidekick Dick Everard. Jill Summers joins the team at the last minute along with two questionable characters with murky pasts, Mr. Dahler and Mr. Jorgensen.

First, let’s address Mr. Dick Everard. I’m listening to this audiobook and every time they said his name, I had to giggle a little bit. The description of this book makes it sound like an action-packed suspense novel but then we have Everard. I wondered if the book was going to take a turn into a completely different genre, but it didn’t. No worries! This book truly is an adventure novel full of Norwegian ski escapades, whale meat, aliases, war stories, and sailing. Dick Everard truly is just a trusty sidekick and he has nothing to do with the minor romance in the novel.

Jill Summers turned out to be quite the gem in this book. At first, her being the only female character for 3/4 of the book, I expected her to be coddled by the men and placed in a minimal role as ‘love interest’. I was delightfully surprised when she had a significant role in the book. She grew up sailing, skiing, and speaking Norwegian so she gets to do everything the men do in this book. I found this awesome, especially since this was originally published in 1948.

There’s a bit of a mystery surrounding George Farnell, the mineralogist that disappeared so many years ago. Both Bill and Jill knew him and have their own ideas about his disappearance. Now a body matching his description, but under a different name, has turned up on a glacier. The thorite sample smuggled out of Norway adds a financial incentive, and this later leads to some steep competition for finding the source of that mineral sample.

The story starts off a little slow, but once Jill joins the group along with Mr. Dahler, who she knew when she was a child, things really pick up. Once the crew reaches Norway, there’s bits of Norwegian sprinkled throughout the story, which I really liked as it added to the ambiance. Perhaps it’s a bit of a taboo today, but I also found the tour of the whale factory to be interesting. It’s a suspenseful mystery that ends in a harrowing chase over a glacier. The story was so good I didn’t even mind the romance.

Narration: Jerry Farden did a really good job with this book. He never smirked when he had to say Dick Everard’s name. He did a decent job with the Norwegian accents and the bits of Norwegian. While there were few female characters, Farden’s female voices were believable. 

What I Liked: Jill had a much bigger role than I expected; plenty of suspense; a mystery at the heart of it; not everyone is who they say they are; skiing and sailing; glaciers!

What I Disliked: Could have used more female characters.

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