By Kari Herbert (Greystone Books, $22.95)
The blurb: Author Kari Herbert explores the lives of seven women whose husbands became world famous for their Arctic and Antarctic expeditions.
Excerpt: "On a mild summer's day in 1846, Jane Franklin reached the summit of Mount Washington in New Hampshire and marvelled at the clouds drifting over the White Mountain Forest far below. Climbing well-known peaks was the highlight of her often dangerous tours through wild country. Her conquest of this 6,288-foot peak, at the age of fifty-four in a boned corset and many-layered petticoats, was made all the more thrilling by her certainty that, at that moment, her husband, Sir John Franklin, was carving his way through the ice-chocked waters of the Northwest Passage. It was largely due to her that Franklin had been chosen again for the command of such an impressive expedition. Soon, she hoped, he would emerge triumphant into the Pacific, in the culmination of a quest that had claimed the lives of many brave men before him."
The Gilded Prospect
By Philip Thurman (Creation House Press)
The blurb: In this novel, Charlie Sutcliffe and his best friend embark on a journey to Alaska to retrieve Sutcliffe's great-great-grandfather's hidden gold. With a terminally ill daughter at home, Sutcliffe hopes to be able to pay the family's financial debt. What he doesn't expect is someone else seeking the same gold.
Excerpt: "George swayed up the gangplank while Charlie stayed near their duffel bags, chain-link handrails tinkling with each step. Two nervous heads twitched and ceased their rope coiling to stare at his approach. Among lining runner deck lights, Charlie's distance disguised specific speech recognition. One figure shoved a cigarette back between cracked red lips, gesticulated with both arms, and with a final turn, pointed toward the bow.
"Wind rose and random spray sprinkled across his face. High gulls struggled against the gales, hanging suspended in midair by invisible tethering lines, their beaks pointed up in a rapid snatching rise and fall. Charlie turned and gazed across distant skyscraper profiles. Thoughts of Charlotte's dreams whispered far beyond them. His drift was interrupted by a backward glance and George's frantic overhead hand waving from beyond the railing."
-- Compiled by Matt Sullivan, Anchorage Daily News