I felt the worlds of ocean and ice were meeting in a frontier of rage, as if the Earth had torn in two along this line.This was a place if there ever was a place, where you could disappear.
The year is 1845 and young researcher Eliot Saxby is paid to go on an expedition to the Arctic in the hope of finding remains of the by now extinct Great Auk. He joins a regular hunting ship, but the crew and the passengers are not what they seem. Caught in the web of relationships on board, Eliot struggles to understand the motivations of the sociopathic, embroidery-loving Captain Sykes, the silent First Mate French, the flamboyant laudanum-addicted Bletchley and, most importantly of all, Bletchley's beautiful but strange 'cousin' Clara. As the ship moves further and further into the wilds of the Arctic sea, Eliot clings to what he believes in, desperate to save Clara but drawn irrevocably back into the past that haunts him.
The first historical novel from an author who has been critically acclaimed for his two contemporary novels (Salt and The Wake), The Collector of Lost Things is a compulsive, beautifully writtten read.