It is 1850; Mr. Saxby has been hired by influential acquaintances to venture out on a merchant ship that makes routine trips to the Arctic to deliver supplies and trade with Esquimaux groups. The purpose for Mr. Saxby’s participation is to collect eggs and natural artifacts from a rare and extinct bird. He finds himself isolated on the craft with men driven by profit only. The journey quickly turns horrific as the crew begin their obsessed greedy actions of slaughter upon seals, walruses, and whales for their valuable animal parts. The expedition becomes one of great imbalance by filling the ship’s hull with skins, feathers, and bones against the belief all animals have a soul and are connected by a continuation of life that man has little understanding of. A struggle between guarding the legacy of the scarce bird species and selfishness of the Captain to capitalize on the rarity of the breed escalates into a deadly feud that will surely end in tragedy.
This story is written with a heavy hearted important message. The difficult task of protecting natural wildlife and their habitat is a constant underlying idea that is told brilliantly through characterization that is guaranteed to move the heart and emotions of the reader. The shroud of doom that follows the vessel from island to island destroys everything Mother Nature has built with one objective, wealth. Mankind's failure to be anything other than a beast of greed and its desire for possessions results in destruction and heartlessness that will be repeated time and time again across decades upon all creatures. Having the courage to stand and make the effort to fight will save the Arctic along with its habitat before it’s too late. The significance and commentary to this tale is that perhaps one day man will save the Arctic and all of its extraordinary life before nature is further undone. This has been laid out in a wonderful piece of fiction entitled The Collector of Lost Things written by Jeremy Page.
The year is 1845 and young researcher Eliot Saxby is paid to go on an expedition to the Arctic in the hope of finding remains of the by-now-extinct Great Auk, a large flightless bird of mythical status.
Eliot joins a hunting ship, but the crew and the passengers are not what they seem. Caught in the web of relationships on board, Eliot struggles to understand the motivations of the sociopathic Captain Sykes; the silent First Mate, French; the flamboyant laudanum-addicted Bletchley; and most importantly of all, Bletchley's beautiful but strange "cousin" Clara.
As the ship moves further and further into the wilds of the Arctic Sea, Eliot clings to what he believes in, desperate to save Clara but irrevocably drawn back into a past that haunts him--and a present that confronts him with a myriad of dangers.