Jo was always envious of older brothers Rufus and Francis; the freedom they were allowed while Jo had to stay at home, their shared plans for the future, particularly their intent to join an expedition to Antarctica led by famous explorer, James 'Australis' Randall. When Rufus and Francis are killed during the Great War, Jo resolves to take up their plan and journey south - even if that means stowing away.
As the expedition leaves any signs of civilisation behind, tension aboard the Fortitude increases. Despite his reputation, not everyone totally trusts him, and the weather conditions are not looking good with too much sea-ice for the time of year, but it's once the Ice proper is reached that things start to go really wrong. A fire forces the crew to leave the ship, taking sleds and heading for the base of a rival German expedition, but this is found empty, and seemingly haunted by ghosts which call men out onto the ice and into terrible danger.
Set in the early 20th century period of great Polar exploration, all The White Spaces is a story of self-discovery and -determination set against a backdrop of icy wastes and encroaching horror. Arctic/Antarctic stories always have some sort of pull over me - the everlasting days of summer, the equally lengthy nights of winter, the necessity for self-reliance and courage against almost over-whelming odds. So naturally I loved this. The ice and its hazards, the gradually shortening days, the complete isolation are all brilliantly captured, and make the reader feel there in this last human outpost.