The stark, vast beauty of the remote Arctic Europe landscape has been the focus of human exploration for thousands of years.
Following in the footsteps of the region’s early pioneers, Francis sets his compass and travels in the tracks of early explorers of the North, following their searches for ultima Thule, the furthest North, the limits of the known world. Starting in Unst, the northernmost of of the Shetland Isles, he travels to the Faroes, Iceland, Greenland, the Sápmi area of northern Scandinavia, and the Svalbard Archipelago.
Weaving together history and travelogue, and bringing in the stories of historical figures including Pytheas, Brendan the Navigator and Fridtjof Nansen, Francis focuses on the idea of North, and the imprint that it leaves on the imagination of the individual. Francis observes how the region has adapted to the 21st century, giving an observed insight into the lives of people he encounters along the way. The immediacy of the writing, and the strongly visual element envoked when describing the vast, stark landscapes make Francis an ideal companion for exploring the North of the map and the North of the mind.
True North: Travels in Arctic Europe was nominated for a William Mills Prize for Polar Books. Find it on Goodreads.