Synopsis: The North is an untamed and harsh country, hinting of great rewards but promising nothing but constant hardship. It is ruled by the winter, populated by scattered tribes and the half-starved strays known as the Maguruq. The White Land is truly the last frontier.
Under the flag of the United Territories, thousands travel north, seeking their own manifest destiny in the land of the midnight sun. It is an age of exploration: people come to test themselves against the wild land and chart the vast snowbound wastes. It is also an age of industry: whaling and fishing are a lucrative business and diamonds, copper and gold are waiting in the frozen ground, ripe for the taking.
In this cruel place, one organization comes into being with the noble goal of exploration, rescue and aid for all: the Nordguard. Responsible for cutting trails, carrying the mail and recovering lost travelers, their dangerous job is never done.
In the late autumn of 1903, a distress call from one of the northern mines has come over the wire. The nearest seaports are frozen solid with the early winter and a rescue attempt must be made by land. Pi and her team—the best the Nordguard has to offer—are called in to make the risky run to the Tartok Mine.
Tensions are building in the north as three great nations rest on the edge of war, licking old wounds and brooding over ancient enmities. And now, something sinister has been unearthed in Tartok, inciting slaughter and bringing death to the White Land.
The team soon finds that they might be in over their heads. Traveling in the company of an arrogant military officer and a green field surgeon, pursued by relentless hunters and pushed into the grip of a much larger conspiracy, their survival rides on thin ice.
Tess Garman and Teagan Gavet (also known to many as their collaborative pseudonym "Blotch") have achieved not only a stunning display of artistry in these pages, but also an engaging adventure story with a dash of near-history mixed in. Painstakingly hand-painted in watercolors over the span of several years, there is both amazing detail and broad vibrant landscapes, in colors that run from blinding snowfields through golden firelight and the spectral green of the Aurora Borealis.
While featuring themes of tragedy and violence that may not be appropriate for very young readers, all books in the Nordguard series are appropriate for young adults.