The Frozen Deep, Paperback Book

The Frozen Deep Paperback

Part of the Hesperus Classics series

4 out of 5 (1 rating)


Originally performed as a play starring Dickens and Collins - few people know of this prose version, found here in a new edition, a little masterpiece by the author of The Moonstone and The Woman in White, which was to be the inspiration for Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities.

Based on the doomed 1845 expedition to the Arctic, The Frozen Deep is a dramatic tale of vengeance and self-sacrifice.

Exchanging vows of love with sailor Frank Aldersley the night before his departure, Clara Burnham is haunted by the memory of Richard Wardour, and his mistaken belief that they will one day marry.

On different ships, the two men have no cause to meet - until disaster strikes and they find themselves united by their battle for survival.

When they learn of their rivalry, there follows an act of pure selflessness, making The Frozen Deep one of Collins' most moving and tragic works.


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 Wilkie's Collins' novella "The Frozen Deep" is based on the play of the same name he co-wrote with Charles Dickens. The setting is a British naval expedition to discover the Northwest Passage (loosely inspired by John Franklin's ill-fated voyage). The story is a melodrama about two men on the voyage -- one of whom is engaged to be married to a woman that the other has just broken up with. This fact is discovered after they have been shipwrecked in the Arctic for over a year, with predictably melodramatic consequences. Suffice it to say it all turns out better than Franklin's actual expedition and that the play this is based on was the basis of the ending of a Tale of Two Cities.Nowhere nearly as good as any of Collins' novels that I've read with little in the way of real suspense, mystery or psychological depth. But still enjoyable nonetheless and worth reading.

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