Into the Great Emptiness: Peril and Survival on the Greenland Ice Cap Audiobook, by David Roberts Play Audiobook Sample

Into the Great Emptiness: Peril and Survival on the Greenland Ice Cap Audiobook

Into the Great Emptiness: Peril and Survival on the Greenland Ice Cap Audiobook, by David Roberts Play Audiobook Sample
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Read By: Julian Elfer Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Listen Time: at 1.0x Speed 6.50 hours at 1.5x Speed 4.88 hours at 2.0x Speed Release Date: December 2022 Format: Unabridged Audiobook ISBN: 9798212018111

Quick Stats About this Audiobook

Total Audiobook Chapters:


Longest Chapter Length:

62:11 minutes

Shortest Chapter Length:

18:45 minutes

Average Chapter Length:

39:20 minutes

Audiobooks by this Author:


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Publisher Description

The riveting story of one of the greatest but least-known sagas in the history of exploration from David Roberts, the “dean of adventure writing”

By 1930, no place in the world was less well explored than Greenland. The native Inuit had occupied the relatively accessible west coast for centuries. The east coast, however, was another story. In August 1930, Henry George Watkins (nicknamed “Gino”), a twenty-three-year-old British explorer, led thirteen scientists and explorers on an ambitious expedition to the east coast of Greenland and into its vast and forbidding interior to set up a permanent meteorological base on the ice cap, 8,200 feet above sea level. The Ice Cap Station was to be the anchor of a transpolar route of air travel from Europe to North America.

The weather on the ice cap was appalling. Fierce storms. Temperatures plunging lower than negative fifty degrees Fahrenheit in the winter. Watkins’s scheme called for rotating teams of two men each to monitor the station for two months at a time. No one had ever tried to winter over in that hostile landscape, let alone manage a weather station through twelve continuous months. Watkins was younger than anyone under his command, but he had several daring trips to the Arctic under his belt and no one doubted his judgement.

The first crisis came in the fall when a snowstorm stranded a resupply mission halfway to the top for many weeks. When they arrived at the ice cap, there were not enough provisions and fuel for another two-man shift, so the station would have to be abandoned. Then team member August Courtauld made an astonishing offer. To enable the mission to go forward, he would monitor the station solo through the winter. When a team went up in March to relieve Courtauld, after weeks of brutal effort to make the 130-mile journey, they could find no trace of him or the station. By the end of March, Courtauld’s situation was desperate. He was buried under an immovable load of frozen snow and was disastrously short on supplies. On April 21, four months after Courtauld began his solitary vigil, Gino Watkins set out inland with two companions to find and rescue him.

David Roberts draws on firsthand accounts and archival materials to tell the story of this daring expedition and of the epic survival ordeal that ensued.

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“While mainly focusing on Watkins and his team, the audio includes insightful information on Inuit culture as it relates to the expedition. Elfer’s confident tone and British accent are appropriate to this story of suffering and stoicism, yet he still allows the author’s dry wit to come through.”

— AudioFile 


  • “A gripping saga―and one of Roberts’ finest books.”

    — Jon Krakauer, New York Times bestselling author
  • “[A] fascinating biography…Roberts devotes most of his book to a gripping account of this expedition, with equally fine asides on Greenland’s history and Indigenous inhabitants…An outstanding account of a great expedition.”

    — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
  • “Roberts knows how to tell a good story, and he draws on firsthand accounts from team members to depict their excursions in harrowing detail. Perfect for fans of adventure stories, this one hits all the marks.”

    — Publishers Weekly


  • A Library Journal Best Books of the Year Pick
  • An Amazon Editor’s Top Pick in History

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About David Roberts

David Roberts (1943–2021) was the author of thirty books on mountaineering, exploration, and anthropology. His books won the Boardman Tasker Award for Mountain Literature and the Grand Prize at the Banff Mountain Book Competition.

About Julian Elfer

Julian Elfer is an award-winning, classically trained British actor with extensive stage experience. He studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts and the British Academy at Oxford University, where he studied with the likes of Derek Jacobi, Fiona Shaw, and Alan Rickman. Elfer currently resides and acts in New York City.