Excerpt from The Ice Child by Elizabeth McGregor, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Ice Child

By Elizabeth McGregor

The Ice Child
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: May 2001,
    400 pages.
    Paperback: Sep 2002,
    448 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


The double glass doors of the Academy led onto a large foyer. Pressing the doorbell, Jo could see a reception desk, with some sort of office behind, and glass-fronted cabinets in the hallway. To the left another door opened into a bigger room. To their right was a flight of stairs.

A woman came out of the office. She smiled at Jo through the glass as she unlocked the door and ushered her in.

"He's upstairs," she told Jo. "I'll tell him you're here."

She was shown to a chair in the hall.

The place was huge, the ceiling thirty feet high. Jo noticed, now, that at some time fairly recently the whole of the back of the building had been remodeled; beyond the flight of stairs the wall was glass, and a room-wide corridor led to another building, a modern block that looked like a library.

Several minutes ticked past.

Eventually she got up and walked to the cabinets that were ranged against the far wall.

She rested her hand on the sloping glass of the first. Under her palm lay a meaningless scatter of objects and a few sepia photographs. There was a silver spoon with a copper repair on the handle. The tattered remains of a small book, empty of pages, and what had once been gold initials faded on the front. A tiny piece of red tin or aluminum. A page with a drawing of some kind of engine.

She peered at the photographs. Four men in uniform, only one of them youthful. They had the very posed and rigid look of early Victorian daguerreotypes. Their names were underneath, but she barely read them. Not one was looking directly into the camera. Behind them in the case was a long and narrow map of a waterway.

"Miss Harper?"

She turned.

She hadn't heard him approach, but a man was standing at her shoulder. He was barely her own height, not more than five foot six, and was incredibly round. He held out his hand.

"Peter Bolton."

"Jo Harper."

She liked him on sight: he had the face of an enthusiastic schoolboy. He was overweight, probably more than two hundred twenty pounds, and breathing heavily from the exertion of walking down the stairs.

"Come far?" he asked her.

"London," she said.

"Ah," he replied, commiserating. "Come with me. I've got hot chocolate." He stopped and peered at her. "Do you drink hot chocolate?"

"Yes," she said.

"Good."

They went back to his office. In this assumption, made while she was driving here, trying to visualize both him and the institute, Jo had been right. It was a typical academic's room, so much a cliché that it might have been prepared for a film set. Shelves lined the room floor to ceiling. Books lined the floor. Dust was everywhere. They could just about get in the room by pushing hard on the door, and picking their way over to two chairs marooned in a wash of files and paper.

Bolton fished a thermos from under the desk. "We have a machine here that never works, and we have Mrs. Cropp, who does. But I don't like to bother her," he said, pouring the drink into two plastic cups.

They sipped.

"My phone has never stopped ringing," he said.

"You must be fed up with us all."

"No, no," he replied cheerfully. "I'm very popular all of a sudden."

"Has Douglas Marshall been missing before?"

"No. Never."

"But he's been on expeditions...."

"Oh, yes. The Antarctic, you know. Turkey. Asia. The Caribbean."

"And the Arctic?"

"Yes, twice."

"I see," she said. She glanced around her. "Have you known him long?"

"Over ten years."

"Really?" she said. "I'm sorry. You must be frantic."

He nodded slightly. "Yes ... it's unlike Douglas. But ... one tries not to be frantic, exactly."

Copyright 2001, Elizabeth McGregor. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher - Dutton Books.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Shotgun Lovesongs
    Shotgun Lovesongs
    by Nickolas Butler
    Nickolas Butler's debut novel, Shotgun Lovesongs, follows five life-long friends, now in their mid-...
  • Book Jacket: Gemini
    Gemini
    by Carol Cassella
    How good is Gemini, Carol Cassella's book about a Seattle intensive care physician who becomes ...
  • Book Jacket: The Goldfinch
    The Goldfinch
    by Donna Tartt
    Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer for Fiction.

    Her canvas is vast. To frame a story about art, love and ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

Published Apr. 2014

Join the discussion!

Who Said...

To win without risk is to triumph without glory

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

P Your O C

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.