Girl in Ice (Hardcover)
March 2022 Indie Next List
“I knew little about linguistics or the Arctic until I read Erica Ferencik's fascinating book. Her style is fast, impossible to put down, and the landscape is beautifully written. This is my first Ferencik book; it will not be the last.”
— Connie L. Eaton, Three Sisters Books & Gifts, Shelbyville, IN
New York Times Editors’ Choice * Los Angeles Times Best Crime Novels of Winter 2022 * Reader’s Digest Best Fiction Books of 2022
From the author of The River at Night and Into the Jungle comes a harrowing new thriller set in the unforgiving landscape of the Arctic Circle, as a brilliant linguist struggling to understand the apparent suicide of her twin brother ventures hundreds of miles north to try to communicate with a young girl who has been thawed from the ice alive.
Valerie “Val” Chesterfield is a linguist trained in the most esoteric of disciplines: dead Nordic languages. Despite her successful career, she leads a sheltered life and languishes in the shadow of her twin brother, Andy, an accomplished climate scientist stationed on a remote island off Greenland’s barren coast. But Andy is gone: a victim of suicide, having willfully ventured unprotected into 50 degree below zero weather. Val is inconsolable—and disbelieving. She suspects foul play.
When Wyatt, Andy’s fellow researcher in the Arctic, discovers a scientific impossibility—a young girl frozen in the ice who thaws out alive, speaking a language no one understands—Val is his first call. Will she travel to the frozen North to meet this girl, and try to comprehend what she is so passionately trying to communicate? Under the auspices of helping Wyatt interpret the girl’s speech, Val musters every ounce of her courage and journeys to the Artic to solve the mystery of her brother’s death.
The moment she steps off the plane, her fear threatens to overwhelm her. The landscape is fierce, and Wyatt, brilliant but difficult, is an enigma. But the girl is special, and Val’s connection with her is profound. Only something is terribly wrong; the child is sick, maybe dying, and the key to saving her lies in discovering the truth about Wyatt’s research. Can his data be trusted? And does it have anything to do with how and why Val’s brother died? With time running out, Val embarks on an incredible frozen odyssey—led by the unlikeliest of guides—to rescue the new family she has found in the most unexpected of places.
About the Author
Erica Ferencik is the award-winning author of the acclaimed thrillers The River at Night, Into the Jungle, and Girl in Ice, which The New York Times Book Review declared “hauntingly beautiful.” Find out more on her website EricaFerencik.com and follow her on Twitter @EricaFerencik.
"In Ferencik’s supple, dazzling novel, Val Chesterfield, a Massachusetts-based linguist with a passion for dead Nordic tongues, tumbles into a perilous Arctic maze that wends back and forth to her own troubled psyche... As the pieces click together, she finds herself at the edge of a menacing Arctic twilight, yearning for connection and her comfort zone: 'I felt safest in my office, alone with my books, charts, runic symbols, and scraps of old text; and when I deciphered a chunk of language—even a word!—a thrill of understanding juddered up my spine. The distance between me and another human being, just for that moment, was erased.'" —Oprah Daily
“Girl in Ice is a lot of things: a psychological suspense novel, a linguistic thriller and a scientific puzzle . . . Ferencik describes the Arctic topography with a poet’s awe, and some of her set-pieces—the procession of a huge herd of caribou, an Arctic dive gone badly awry—are breathtaking... A singular sensation.” —Wall Street Journal
"Hauntingly beautiful... Girl In Ice uses the subtleties of translation to draw us into different worlds and ways of thinking." —Sarah Lyall, New York Times Book Review
"Known for immersing herself in challenging environments, Ferencik infuses every page with her research in the fjords of Greenland (where the Inuktun word for climate change translates to 'a friend acting strangely'). That plus a writer’s eye for the telling detail have produced some of the most original thriller writing about Arctic environments since Peter Høeg’s 1993 novel Smilla’s Sense of Snow. As science-driven thriller and probing exploration of fear, language and family bonds, Girl in Ice will not be easily forgotten." —Los Angeles Times, "7 Best Crime Novels of Winter 2022"
“An excellent, thrilling mystery . . . With its fascinating science and compelling characters (one or more of whom may be a murderer), Girl in Ice demands to be read in one sitting.” —BookPage (starred review)
“Exemplary... Trenchant details about catastrophic climate change bolster a creative plot featuring authentic characters... Ferencik outdoes Michael Crichton in the convincing way she mixes emotion and science.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“The story evokes a palpable sense of foreboding and becomes increasingly ominous as it highlights the power of nature—and of human emotion. Original, intense, powerful, disturbing, and utterly mesmerising, this one, which evokes Peter Høeg's Smilla's Sense of Snow, will stay with readers long after they’ve finished the book.” —Booklist (starred review)
"Kayaking between icebergs, Ferencik is fascinated by survival stories." —The Boston Globe
"This literary speculative fiction thriller not only tackles issues of language and first-contact colonialism, as well as climate change and what we’re doing to the planet, but also what it means to overcome your greatest fears in order to do the right thing... The mysteries are many-layered and intriguing ." —Criminal Element
“Girl In Ice is a novel of secrets. It is also an allegory for what human beings are doing to the natural world and the terrifying possibility that Mother Nature might one day strike back in unpredictable ways. All in all, this is a memorable and literally chilling read.” —BookReporter
“An inherently fascinating and deftly crafted novel by an author with a remarkable flair for imaginative, compelling, and narrative driven storytelling, Girl in Ice by Erica Ferencik will prove to be an immediately popular and enduringly prized addition to community library contemporary Mystery/Suspense collections.” —Midwest Book Review
“Whether I was desperate to solve a mystery, marveling at a beautifully described part of the northern scenery, or absorbing some fascinating tidbit of knowledge, this book held me rapt from start to end. Already one of my favorite books of next year, I’ll be thinking about this one for a while.” —Fiona Cook, Mystery and Suspense magazine
“I knew little about linguistics or the Arctic until I read Erica Ferencik's fascinating book. Her style is fast, impossible to put down, and the landscape is beautifully written. This is my first Ferencik book; it will not be the last.” —Connie L. Eaton, Three Sisters Books & Gifts, Indie Next citation
“Mysterious, anxiety-inducing and with a touch of magic, Girl in Ice is a wonderfully unique thriller that’s literally bone chilling. Erica Ferencik has delivered a nerve-wracking thriller that will have you shivering on the edge of your seat.” —Steve Netter, Best Thriller Books
"This dark, suspenseful, visceral thriller combines the pressing issue of our time—human destruction of the environment—with a gripping and beautifully written mystery set in the frigid far reaches of the Arctic Circle. Unflinching, devastating but ultimately hopeful, Girl in Ice grabbed me and didn’t let me go until the very last page." —A. J. Banner, #1 Amazon, USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestselling author
“With its jaw-dropping premise, unique locale, and great emotional depth, Ferencik’s latest adventure thriller is riveting from the first page to the last.” —Robyn Harding, bestselling author of The Perfect Family
“Uniquely imagined in a spectacularly unforgettable setting that simultaneously filled me with wondrous awe and absolute terror. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.” —Lisa Genova, New York Times bestselling author of Still Alice and Remember
“Ferencik’s beautifully written suspense chiller held me in its icy grip and wouldn’t let go. Meticulously researched, rich in scientific detail and Inuit folklore, this moving human story is one you won’t soon forget.” —Catherine Burns, author of The Visitors
“This fiercely intelligent thriller delivers an ice-cold shot of adrenaline. Erica Ferencik takes the reader on an unforgettable ride through the Arctic where the menace of the starkly beautiful landscape is matched by that of the human psyche.” —Lexie Elliott, author of The French Girl, The Missing Years and How to Kill Your Best Friend
"This gorgeous, captivating thriller sets a dangerous, precious environment against an inner landscape of grief and longing. Moving, provocative, and breathlessly entertaining, this journey lingers long after the last page is turned." —Kassandra Montag, author of After the Flood
“An arctic location, a dead language, and a mysterious girl: the combination of these three things made Girl in Ice a must-read for me. Ferencik's descriptions are so powerful I feel as if I've experienced the frigid, uncanny dreamscape of Greenland. I was in Val's head, seeing the wonders and terrors through her eyes, fully attuned to her introverted existence. This haunting tale of love and obsession is peppered with lines so beautiful and profound that sometimes I had to stop and catch my breath.” —Zoje Stage, USA Today and internationally bestselling author of Baby Teeth and Getaway
"A propulsive, utterly unforgettable, jaw-dropping thriller.” —The Patriot-Ledger
"One of those rare thrillers that stays with you long after you've finished it, in large part because of a blisteringly original premise. As much a psychological thriller as a survival tale, Girl on Ice resonates on multiple levels, establishing a unique template that makes it a great read." —Providence Journal