Dangerous Work : Diary of an Arctic Adventure, Hardback

Dangerous Work : Diary of an Arctic Adventure Hardback

Edited by Jon L. Lellenberg, Daniel Stashower

5 out of 5 (1 rating)


In February 1880, when Arthur Conan Doyle was only twenty years old, he embarked upon 'the first real outstanding adventure in my life,' seven months as a ship's surgeon on an Arctic whaler.

The voyage took the young Conan Doyle into unknown regions and plunged him into dangerous and bloody work on the ice floes of the Arctic seas.

His unforgettable adventure was echoed in a number of his early landmarks as a writer.

A ghost story based on the experience, 'The Captain of the Pole-Star,' got him noticed in publishing circles as a promising young writer, and a magazine article called 'The Glamour of the Arctic' won him the respect of intrepid Arctic explorers. During the voyage, Conan Doyle kept a detailed diary.

This incredible document, hidden from public view for more than a century, is written in his clear handwriting and is illustrated with many charming pen-and-ink sketches of scenes of life on board and of the sea-creatures and other sights he saw.

It provides a vivid account of the coming of age of the young man who would go on to create Sherlock Holmes, and of a life at sea that no longer exists. This book will feature a facsimile of this remarkable diary, with a transcript, as well as several non-fiction and fiction pieces based on the experience, including the Sherlock Holmes story 'The Adventure of the Black Peter.' It will also include photographs of the ship, its captain, and young Conan Doyle on deck.

The publication of this unknown diary will be welcomed by all fans of Arthur Conan Doyle.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 368 pages, Black and white photos
  • Publisher: The British Library Publishing Division
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Diaries, letters & journals
  • ISBN: 9780712358644



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When this book was published I did not hold out much hope for it, as I had already been burned by the disappointing release ‘The Diary of John Smith’ and thought that the sudden outpouring of posthumous publications related to Conan Doyle could end up tarnishing his great reputation. <br/>Fortunately my early fears could not have been further from the truth. It is a marvellous book, which not only details a long forgotten trade and the brave men who toiled at it, but gives insights into the young doctor’s life at a point when he was deeply entrenched in his medical studies and his future calling as an author was just a pipe dream to him.<br/>It begs the question, why wasn’t this book published earlier?<br/>