Laura is an environmental scientist who has spent many seasons in the Antarctic wilderness. Chosen to prepare an Environmental Impact Assessment on the abandoned and protected Fredelighavn Whaling Station, she looks forward to the task despite getting bad vibes from almost everyone she encounters at Alliance Station, the British outpost settlement she must work from. Her first visit to Fredelighavn does little to dispel her paranoia. Despite it being classed as an environmentally sensitive "exclusion" area there is clear evidence that people have been then much more recently than she has been told. The odd behaviour of the penguins at the nearby colony confirms her suspicions that they have recently been exposed to human interaction. Yet upon making further enquiries Laura is stonewalled and told she is imagining things.
Out of the Ice is a cracker of a read. Ann Turner captures Antarctica spectacularly, placing the reader right in the middle of this icy continent. For me the setting alone was captivating enough - so when the suspense and mystery elements were added, I literally couldn't put the book down. I'm not sure how much of the book was based on fact, but I had no idea so many people lived down there in the summer seasons in a real community, complete with a bakery and a cinema. She also manages to tie in the sad tale of whale hunting, a less palatable yet very important historical fact. As I mentioned before I found this whole set-up to be fascinating.
I loved the original setting, the suspense and the female heroine in Out Of The Ice. The actual mystery was possibly a tad far-fetched but I was so otherwise invested in the story that it did not really impact my overall enjoyment of this book. Overall I found this to be an utterly captivating book and much more suspenseful than Ann's first novel.