A finely written account of an extreme experience of the Antarctic, worthy to stand beside some of the great travel narratives in the English language.
RSL Ondaatje Prize Judges
Empire Antarctica is the embodiment of everything I admire in travel writing -- a great journey, intense isolation, wide reading, vivid writing, scientific research, and something in the nature of an old-fashioned ordeal. That Gavin Francis is a medical doctor, with an important role to play in the darkness and cold at the ends of the earth, is a bonus. I loved this book.
One of the best travel titles I have read in a long time. Thoughtful, lyrical, extremely well written, it’s a triumph.
Giles Foden, Conde Nast Traveller
A beautiful, profound and highly readable account of a remarkable personal adventure. Francis’s pacing is deft, his prose vivid, his research worn lightly. This is probably as close as most of us will ever get to experiencing a modern polar winter. Empire Antarctica is surely destined to become a standard, not so much of travel as of staying very still.
Ed O'Loughlin, Daily Telegraph
Francis’ best writing (and it is excellent)... is Robert Macfarlane on ice. This writing achieves the ‘quilted quality’ of silence, and through it we are brought to a new landscape of words.
Katherine MacInnes, Literary Review
A Sunday Times Travel Book of Month: 'A book full of wonder. Brilliantly imagined, superbly brought to life'
Anthony Sattin, Sunday Times
This is the sort of book that gives obsession a very good name. Here, in a cold, silent place you realise that obsession is another name for love. And love leads to extraordinary and beautiful writing -- this is a wonderful book
A valuable addition to polar literature, vividly describing the brutal, but beautiful, realities of undergoing an Antarctic winter
An extraordinary book -- lyrical, precise, intoxicating and with a remarkable spiritual depth
One of those rare books that leaves you with an almost breathless sense of the wonders of the planet. Beautiful, erudite and informative, it speaks joyously of the indomitability of Man and the natural world alike
Mesmerising and memorable
An awe-inspiring memoir of a modern-day pioneer who writes with a poetic style and descriptive flourish that is part education, part enthrallment, and wholly entertaining.
Shari Low, Daily Record
Part-travelogue, part memoir, part natural history book, a fascinating, lyrical account of one of the strangest places on earth and its majestic inhabitants.
He writes beautifully about the strange other-worldly allure of this habitat of ice and snow
Siobhan Murphy, Metro
He perceives...continuous sights, sounds and sensations, writing as vividly and as fiercely in darkness at noon or in sunlight at midnight
Iain Finlayson, The Times
Excellent mix of travel and nature writing
Nic Bottomley, Bath Life
Lyrical and enjoyable account
Tom Robbins, Financial Times
Lesley Glaistor, Scotsman
[An] intense and lyrical portrait... shines with a clarity and lyricism descended from Thoreau
His [Gavin's] description of what he found out about himself and his re-navigation of his personal compass in this bleakly remote location is utterly compelling
Janet Archer, Scotsman
Travel writing at its very best combining evocative narrative with a sublime sensitivity to the natural world
Edinburgh Evening News
A brilliant combination of Antarctic essay, travelogue and autobiography. For a man that wanted to be alone, he writes so well you're there with him
John Lloyd, TheBookbag
An absorbing account of life at the end of the world
Alastair Mabbott, Herald