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Dangerous Work: Diary of an Arctic Adventure (hardback)

Published Date:
September 2012
British Library Publishing
Bibliographic Details:
Hardback, 368 pages, 250 x 215mm
Arthur Conan Doyle
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As featured in the Sunday Telegraph Books of the Year 2012 and The Times best nonfiction of 2012.

In 1880 Arthur Conan Doyle was the ship's surgeon on the Hope, aged just 20 years old. His diary reveals the dangerous and bloody work he undertook, in this adventure that would influence his later work, including 'The Captain of the Pole Star' and the Sherlock Holmes story 'The Adventure of Black Peter'.

This volume includes a complete facsimile of the previously unpublished diary along with a transcript, as well as 'The Adventure of Black Peter', photographs relating to the voyage and articles written by Conan Doyle about his Arctic adventures and published in The Idler, The Strand Magazine and Temple Bar.
Extract from the diary
Wednesday March 31st
Very little doing all day. A heavy swell has set in and we are uneasy about the result. If it continues until Saturday it will make our work both difficult and dangerous. The ice is not a solid sheet, but made up of thousands of pieces of all sizes floating close to each other. Now in a swell those pieces alternately separate and come close together with irresistible force. If a poor fellow slips in between two pieces as is easily done, he runs a good chance of being cut in two, as actually happened to several Dundeesmen. Men played leapfrog on a big piece. I started a story “A Journey to the Pole,” which I intend to be good. We are going to write to Gladstone and Disraeli when the Dundeesmen go home.


`[A] rip-roaring account of [Conan Doyle’s] adventures as ship’s doctor on the Arctic whaler Hope.` The Guardian

`His personal narrative is a precursor to Sherlock Holmes that packs in just as much drama`

'Revealed in a gripping diary the blood-soaked voyage to the Arctic that inspired one of Sherlock Holmes' most chilling mysteries`
Daily Mail

`...Conan Doyle’s Arctic Adventure wasn’t simply an excuse for him to shoot a few seals and sea birds (although he did for plenty of both). It also gave him the opportunity to leave the stifling rote-learning of his medical studies behind for six months and indulge his passion for literature.`
Roger Cox, The Scotsman

`... there is something thrilling about reading Doyle’s observations almost straight from his own pen.`
Jan Gardner, Boston Globe

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