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About the book
  • Published: 2 May 2016
  • ISBN: 9780143780007
  • Imprint: Random House Australia
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 320

Ice Letters




A First World War novel of love, peace, violence and Antarctica

A First World War novel of love, peace, violence and Antarctica

Adelaide, 1916, and Dora Somerville grieves for her brother, Edgar, killed in France. In the course of an oppressively hot summer, she decides to abandon her pacifist beliefs and embrace violence as a means to end the Great War.

In his printing shop, her lover, Daniel Bone, also makes a momentous decision. He can no longer face the constant pressure to fight in the war – he will join an Antarctic expedition and abandon Australia, leaving Dora behind. However, the peace Daniel seeks eludes him when he is caught up in a crisis in the icy wilderness as the men find themselves under attack.

When the lovers parted, they had agreed to write to one another, although they knew the letters would never be sent. Thousands of miles apart, their passion grows as the decisions they have made imperil them both.

  • Pub date: 2 May 2016
  • ISBN: 9780143780007
  • Imprint: Random House Australia
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 320

About the Author

Susan Errington

Susan Errington’s first novel, Olive Street, was short-listed for the Victorian Premier's Literary Award for First Fiction. Olive Street has also been published in the Netherlands as Nacht in Olive Street. Her short fiction has appeared in anthologies such as Smashed and Penguin Summer Short Stories 2, as well as in literary magazines. She has been a co-editor of a short story collection and her short fiction has been awarded and shortlisted for several literary prizes. She was a founding member, contributor and non-fiction editor for the literary magazine Wet Ink. Ice Letters is her second novel. She is currently a board member of the South Australian Writers Centre.


Praise for Ice Letters

“Dora Somerville's brother has just been killed fighting in France. She is the last remaining member of her family, and her lover Daniel, a printer, is in the same situation. Both are pacifists, and Daniel, finding it harder to remain in Australia while men are enlisting all around him and women are handing him white feathers, decides to join a one-year scientific expedition to Antarctica. They decide they will write to each other, even though their letters can't be posted. But Dora, feeling abandoned, finds herself in league with an extremist organisation whose pacifist activism embraces violence, a situation that eventually leads to the crisis of her life. In the history of wartime Australia and of Mawson's Antarctica, Susan Errington has rich material at her disposal and uses it to construct a thoughtful historical romance.”

Kerryn Goldsworthy, The Sydney Morning Herald

“A rich full circle of a novel. In places as raw and brutal as the bomb central to the plot, and in others woven as delicately as lace. A new perspective on Australia’s Great War, and I loved it.”

Deborah Challinor

“A passionate story of the conflicts born of trying to avoid war – or perhaps even attempting to destroy it altogether – Ice Letters balances a sense of exquisite beauty with a story of terrific intent. Dora and Daniel are as fierce as they are frightened and their twinned and intertwined stories explode from the page with rich imagery and poetic vivacity. You know the way the world unfolds around them – you know the awful shape of World War I. But what these two want is a different world, a different history, and their story brings its readers a stunning new prism through which to view that well-known time. In the letters of these lovers, as in Susan Errington’s delicate crafting of their stories, there’s a beautiful celebration of what Errington herself describes as “writing as an essential act of surviving in the wilderness”.”

Ashley Hay

“This novel makes one consider the lesser-known parts of Australian history. While thousands of men volunteered to serve overseas in World War 1, there was also disquiet and opposition to the war among certain sectors of the community. How Dora and Daniel deal with threats to their lives and to the lives of others, makes this a page-turner.”

Jennifer Somerville, Good Reading


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A heartwrenching reading group choice: Susan Errington’s Ice Letters.

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