Canada Reads·Canadian


Thomas Wharton's novel of adventure and discovery unfolds amidst the stunning beauty of the Canadian Rockies.

Thomas Wharton

A historical novel that captures life in the Alberta Rockies in the early 1900s, Icefields is the story of Edward Byrne, a British doctor haunted by a vision he experienced on a near-fatal slip into a crevasse while climbing the Arcturus glacier. For two decades after the accident, he keeps returning to the site, hoping to understand what he actually saw that day.

Icefields was a finalist for Canada Reads 2008, when it was defended by Steve MacLean.

From the book

At a quarter past three in the afternoon, on August 17, 1898, Doctor Edward Byrne slipped on the ice of Arcturus glacier in the Canadian Rockies and slid into a crevasse.

Frank Trask, the expedition guide, was the first to notice his disappearance. He paused in his slow trudge to make a head count and saw, against the glare of the ice, one less dark, toiling figure than there had been moments before. Trask called out to the others walking farther ahead on the glacier. They turned at his shout and descended quickly to where he stood.

On this bare, windswept slope of ice there was only one place Byrne could be. The climbing party couched at the edge of the chasm where the young doctor's snow goggles lay, the strap caught on a projecting spine of ice.

From Icefields by Thomas Wharton ©1995. Published by NeWest Press.