ix, 260 p.,  p. of plates : col. ill., maps, col. ports. ; 24 cm.
Includes bibliographical references.
Gavin Francis spent fourteen months as a medical doctor 'wintering' in Halley Base, a profoundly isolated research station on the Caird Coast of Antarctica. Attracted by the prospect of solitude and silence -- the base is unreachable for ten months of the year -- it also a rare opportunity to explore the world of the Emperor penguin, the only species truly at home in the Antarctic. As the group of 64 base members narrows down to a core of 14, we move through the year -- from the months of constant sunshine to the three and half months of starlight, and explore the moods and manners of Antarctic living. Among the cold, ice and blankness of the landscape, the legends and myths of Shackleton, Scott, Wilson and Cherry-Garrard loom large, and Francis weaves a discursive and edifying train of thought from characters such as Emerson, Coleridge, Gandhi, Gilbert White, and Pliny, exploring the physical and mental hardship of living at temperatures of -50°C, and the unexpected reassurance and comfort that the penguin community brings in this desolate yet awe-inspiring landscape.