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The Ice

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  839 ratings  ·  181 reviews
THE ICE is an electrifying story of friendship, power and betrayal by the bestselling, Baileys-prize shortlisted author of The Bees.

It's the day after tomorrow and the Arctic sea ice has melted. While global business carves up the new frontier, cruise ships race each other to ever-rarer wildlife sightings. The passengers of the Vanir have come seeking a polar bear. What th
ebook, 256 pages
Published May 4th 2017 by Fourth Estate
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Laline Paull Hi Laura, I really hope so. So far no N American deal - but many other territories buying it. Fingers crossed that an environmentally aware editor who…moreHi Laura, I really hope so. So far no N American deal - but many other territories buying it. Fingers crossed that an environmentally aware editor who likes a good tale will snap it up now it's getting so many top reviews. Thank you for your interest, and best wishes

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Average rating 3.52  · 
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 ·  839 ratings  ·  181 reviews

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Apr 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a outstanding read set in the Arctic and London in the near future. The sea ice at the poles has melted with business, military and tourism swooping in to take advantage. The focus of the novel is the thirty year relationship between Tom Harding and Sean Cawson forged by their obsession with the Arctic in Oxford. Tom is the popular environmental campaigner and Sean is looking to make his name, becoming wealthier and yearning for a knighthood. They come together to purchase the Norwegian ...more
May 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
The Eco message is delivered loud and clear in 'The Ice'. This is how the future might possibly look if we choose to ignore the signs of global warming. The author doesn't try to force the message down our throats, but it takes centre stage in this storyline.

The Arctic sea ice has melted, and Sean Cawson ( a somewhat unscrupulous businessman ) and his long term friend and environmentalist Tom Harding, purchase Midgard Lodge on the Midgard Glacier near Svalbard. Their intention is to provide an e
Ms. Smartarse
Originally published as The Ice

"Sometime in the near future, several icebergs start breaking at the North Pole, uncovering the body of a missing scientist in the process..."

This was about the extent of what I read from the book's summary, and jumped to request it (from NetGalley). Needless to say, it was not one of my best ideas. My initial hope, was to get some sort of Scooby-doo-like mystery, with the dead body coming to life and attacking unsuspecting main- and side- characters. Barring that,
May 21, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel is set in the near future, with a strong environmental message. The crux of the story is the relationship between Sean Cawson, an ambitious businessman who has risen from nothing to become a success under his mentor, Joe Kingsmith, and his old friend, the environmentalist, Tom Harding. The novel begins with a cruise to look for polar bears; the passengers wealthy and disappointed by the lack of sightings. In order to try to locate a bear for the high-paying passengers, the ship goes c ...more
Dannii Elle
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the author, Laline Paull, and the publisher, Fourth Estate, for this opportunity.

This near-future re-imagining of our world is a bleak affair. Polar ice caps melt at an alarming rate due to the Arctic's viable function as prime real estate. Cruise ships battle for dominance on the once tranquil waters. Wildlife is in sharp decline, as hordes of tourists overrun their homes in a bid to steal their share of this ever dec
Lucy Banks
Apr 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley, in return for an honest review.

Fabulous exploration of friendship, greed and values, set against the backdrop of the Arctic.

It was the cover that drew me in initially. There's something quite 'vintage penguin' about it that I just couldn't resist, and I'm glad I didn't!

The story follows Sean, a successful businessman, who we discover has risen from virtually nothing, thanks to the help of his friend Tom (a passionate environmentalist) and his mento
Cal Moriarty
Apr 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
a completely awesome read. So witty and incisive and with brilliantly hewn characters set against a backdrop of international intrigue, death and friendship. It is an excellent follow up to the spectacular The Bees and shows what great range the writer is capable of. In my head, I'm already casting the film! ...more
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
I read 'The Ice' in more or less a single sitting as it is an extremely well-paced novel of suspense. Laline Paull is an impressive writer. Despite the protagonist's many flaws (philandering disaster capitalist with a drinking problem), I found his narrative highly compelling. This was certainly assisted by the excellent settings: a melted North Pole and a London smothered in dust. 'The Ice' is definitely a climate change novel, as the whole story hinges upon the melting Arctic and the spectre o ...more
Nov 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller
Find all my book reviews, plus fascinating author interviews, exclusive guest posts and book extracts, on my blog:

I really enjoyed Laline Paull’s first book, The Bees. I thought it was quirky and inventive. So I was surprised when I started reading The Ice at how different in style it felt, almost as if it was the work of another author. The only thing the two books seem to share is an ecological message, in this case, focused on climate change and its af
Roman Clodia
Apr 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
I loved Paull's The Bees and here she delivers another well-articulated and generally well-plotted story with depth and surprises. The characters, especially the two men at its heart, are developed with layers, and the shifts in time between 'now' and the past are handled deftly. The eco message is clear but not delivered with sermon-like earnestness and becomes an integrated part of the story.

I very much liked the way Paull's travel into the crux of the story is also our journey into the centre
Jul 26, 2022 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2022-reads, purchased
"The world is governed by lunatics and we just sit quiet?”

Laline Paull’s ‘The Ice,’ is set in the near future when the sea ice in the Arctic has completely melted, a much-anticipated sea route between Europe and Asia is finally possible, and government/business are threatening the remaining wildlife. The Arctic of our future has no protection. Paull explores the idea that running parallel to an increase in global warming is civil unrest.

I was instantly captivated by this eco-thriller when a bod
Apr 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow....this really is a good read. I found it completely engaging and gripping. The setting is the Artic, and it is as life like as settings come. The characters are brilliant and full of life. I could visualise the main characters, they are that well drawn. Go a few years into the future, the Arctic is melting, the animals have all but gone. The rich cruise the area to spot polar bears, but end up spotting something more sinister. The melt has opened the Artic up to competition and ...more
Apr 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bit of a slow start, but then just got better and better as it went along. Protagonist is likewise pretty unappealing at the beginning, but then also gets more likeable he goes. Also, Paull's description of being trapped in an ice cave-in was pretty damned harrowing.

Not completely sure why, but this kept reminding me of Robert Harris's The Ghost, probably (but not completely) for all the behind-the-scenes political maneuvering.

Also, kudos to Paull for setting this up in a...I want to say "near f
Jul 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, contemporary
interesting and touching on important subjects - the conflicts between (the fight to protect) the environment & the profit-oriented industrial-political complex. well written, i appreciated the subtlety and literary quality of some of the character-defining scenes, not often found in plot & theme driven novels. and, even though everything is wrong with it, the impressive arctic landscape beautifully comes to life at many instances. the only small criticism i have is that it is sometimes a bit te ...more
Rob Twinem
Apr 09, 2017 rated it liked it
An interesting story and possibly a warning to us all as to what could happen if we choose to ignore global warming and turn a blind eye to the continuous erosion of the polar ice caps. Two childhood friends Sean Cawson and Tom Harding have the opportunity and it would now seem the means to dictate future trends by the successful acquisition of a strategic land mass within the northern polar region: The Artic....."super-objective of Midgard: an inspiring venue in which to promote the reconciliat ...more
Apr 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Ace environmental thriller set in the ARCTIC

The Ice is set ‘a few years in the future‘. Global warming has accelerated, and London is covered in Saharan sand. Summer ice has disappeared from the Arctic and the North Polar sea route between Asia and Europe / Africa is open. Sean Cawson, a non too scrupulous business man has joined forces with his long time friend and noted environmentalist, Tom Harding, to buy an old whaling station on Midgard Glacier near Svalbard, close to the Norwegian and Rus
Renita D'Silva
Jun 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Intense, informative. A book that makes us think about how we live and about this world we often take for granted.
May 11, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The root of all evil...

It's the very near future, global warming continues to advance and the Arctic sea-ice has largely melted. A cruise ship has promised its passengers sightings of polar bears, now even rarer than before. Eventually the wealthy and powerful passengers begin to put pressure on the captain, so the ship takes a detour into an area of the sea that's off limits to cruises. There they finally see a bear, but when an iceberg calves in front of them, they see something else – a prese
The setting of The Ice is extremely interesting and actual: a near future where the Arctic has melted quicker than expected - the summer ice being lost completely. Not a too unbelievable vision unfortunately. Then again, I wished the climate change issue would have been delved into even deeper. The environmentalist in me seems to never be satisfied.
As the focus is not on the climate, it´s on the characters. Laline Paull creates some pretty complicated relationships, which were entertaining to r
Apr 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Review copy courtesy of Harper Collins 4th Estate, many thanks.

I am always attracted to novels set in the wilderness and the way it pares human behaviour down to its rawest and least civilised level. In fact I’ve read a couple this year set in the Arctic, but not the Arctic described here. A few years in the future, the sea ice has retreated so far that a new shipping route has opened up and everyone wants to grab a share. Big business is rubbing up with ecologists and the atmosphere is tense.
Dane Cobain
Apr 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Disclaimer: While I aim to be unbiased, I received a copy of this for free to review.

This book was interesting because it took a different approach to structure and storytelling. Most of the plot follows the aftermath of the tragic death of a young environmentalist, and the ensuing enquiry in which they try to establish the truth. That means that the critical incident happened before the story even starts, which means that all of the action is effectively set in the denouement.

To counter this, t
Mary Lou
Jul 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Ice is set in the not- too- distant future, when the Polar sea ice has melted, allowing new trade routes to be established. With this new trading capacity comes corruption, and even more environmental threat.
Entrepreneur Sean Cawson has built a hunting lodge near the Midgard glacier for retreats for the rich and famous. There has been a price to pay in order to keep the competing superpower governments happy, and his friend and co-investor is killed in an accident when the glacier shifts.
Gilda Felt
Aug 21, 2019 rated it liked it
I adored the author’s The Bees, so I was surprised that the book took awhile to get going; actually there were a couple of times when I almost put it down. There wasn’t much action, and most of the characters, including the main protagonist, Sean Cawson, were pretty unlikable. It wasn’t until about half-way through the book, when the inquest into a death began, that my interest was finally piqued.

Unfortunately, the unlikeability of the characters continued. Perhaps it even got worse as Cawson’s
Jun 17, 2022 rated it it was ok
There wasn't a single character in this book that I had any empathy with which made it quite a difficult read. That being said, the ending was a surprise and almost worth the struggle to read it! ...more
Jul 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
This eco-thriller is set in the near future when the melting polar ice caps are attracting unwelcome tourism and commercial exploitation to the Arctic. Not just a polemic about global warming, but like the melting ice, this is a chilling, multilayered tale where hidden agenda, greed, and betrayal are gradually revealed to show there is far more happening below the surface than is at first apparent.
(Reviewed on
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Ice simply blew me away! Everything read as if written precisely for me - the cover was gorgeous and spot on; the Arctic setting and concerns over preserving nature was timely; the excerpts detailing early expeditions gripped me; the geopolitical chess match a perfect example of corruption; and the story of Sean Cawson, his friend Tom Harding and the inquest offered up some solid of courtroom flair. Genius all the way! It's a book with heart, a deeper moral code and is completely enveloping ...more
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf, 2018
While I had high hopes for this book because I loved her debut, the main character absolutely ruined it for me. The whole woe is me I haven't gotten my knighthood and why couldn't my ex-wife and daughter understand I need to sleep with other women nonsense he constantly went on about completely turned me off from reading this. The plot also jumps between the present and future often with little real purpose as far as I could tell by the time I DNF'd. I might come back to it later, and will defin ...more
Janey Simpson
Mar 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Well written with a gripping end, it possibly tries to cover a few too many issues and would have been better with a pared down agenda. But I really enjoyed it and recommend it. It must have been hard to follow the originality of The Bees, but this book is a well crafted second novel.
Elite Group
Apr 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A captivating novel about friendship, betrayal and hunger for power.

In the near future, the Arctic sea ice has melted, opening up a dangerous and exciting new area of the world for business routes and the tourist trade. A cruise ship seeking out the ever-diminishing numbers of polar bears in the frozen landscape comes across a dead body, released from a melting glacier. The body belongs to the environmentalist Tom Harding, who has been missing presumed dead for three years since the collapse o
Sep 12, 2017 rated it did not like it
Set in the very near future, the Arctic ice caps have melted due to global warming and tourists are willing to pay vast sums to see the last polar bears. But when a particularly vociferous group force a captain to make a detour on his cruise ship the tourists get more than they bargained for – an iceberg calves in front of them and a body is revealed. It turns out to be that of Tom Harding, an environmentalist, who died in an accident 3 years previously and his friend and business partner Sean C ...more
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I write books, I've written plays and screenplays and plan to do so again (in fact I'm working on the theatrical adaptation of The Bees)

I work best secluded in nature or in the midst of a crowd of strangers.

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