A whaler's daughter, Flora Mackie first crossed the Arctic Circle at the age of twelve, falling in love with the cold and unforgiving terrain and forging lifelong bonds with the Inuit people who have carved out an existence on its icy plains. She sets out to become a scientist and polar explorer, despite those who believe that a young woman has no place in this harsh world, and in 1892, her determination leads her back to northern Greenland at the head of a British expedition. Yearning for wider horizons, American geologist Jakob de Beyn joins a rival expedition led by the furiously driven Lester Armitage. When the path of Flora's expedition crosses theirs, the three lives become intertwined. All are obsessed with the north, a place of violent extremes: perpetual night and endless day; frozen seas and coastal meadows; heroism and selfishness. Armitage's ruthless desire to be the undisputed leader of polar discovery sets in motion a chain of events whose tragic outcomes--both for his team of scientists and the indigenous people of Greenland--will reverberate for years to come.