The Last Gentleman Adventurer
Coming of Age in the Arctic
"This is a great book about life at remote bases in Canada's far north as seen by a young English boy who went there by himself to see the world and got more than he could have bargained for. Beautifully written." --Sir Ranulph Fiennes
"As spare, gleaming, and exhilarating as the Arctic wastes and the gentle, stoic Eskimos who had mastery of this realm . . . The book evokes the frozen seas, whale hunts, snow plains and storms that intimidated those rash enough to brave this world, and the traditions, myths, and hunting skills that contoured a bygone way of life . . . His translucent prose is a sparkling and moving record." -- Times (London)
At sixteen, Edward Beauclerk Maurice impulsively signed up with the Hudson's Bay Company -- the Company of Gentleman Adventurers -- and was sent to an isolated trading post in the Canadian Arctic, where there was no telephone or radio and only one ship arrived each year. But the Inuit people who traded there taught him how to track polar bears, build igloos, and survive expeditions in ferocious winter storms. He learned their language and became so immersed in their culture and way of life that children thought he was Inuit himself. When an epidemic struck, Maurice treated the sick using a simple first aid kit, and after a number of the hunters died, he had to start hunting himself, often with women, who soon began to compete for his affections. The young man who in England had never been alone with a woman other than his mother and sisters had come of age in the Arctic.
In The Last Gentleman Adventurer Edward Beauclerk Maurice transports the reader to a time and a way of life now lost forever.
After serving in the New Zealand navy during World War II, Edward Beauclerk Maurice became a bookseller in an English village and rarely traveled again. He died in 2003 as this, his only book, was being readied for publication.
"If you like reality, The Last Gentleman Adventurer will be your cup of tea: a delicious quaff of it. Savor it!" -- Edward Hoagland
"Maurice's memoir supplies a fascinating elegy to a vanishing world." -- Telegraph
"One of those rare writers who will be remembered for turning out one great memoir/travel book . . . He relates these events in a beautiful prose that is quaintly elegant in tone but never archly so . . . Not only a gentleman but a wonderful writer who limited his output to one book, and perhaps that is why it reads so beautifully." -- Sunday Tribune (Dublin)
"Maybe he was exceptional, but the charm of his book lies in its modesty; he makes no claims for himself. His concern was to make a record of some amazing adventures and a vanishing way of life; these are woven into an eye-opening narrative that is suffused with kindliness and an attitude to growing up more restrained but more humane than that prevailing today. A gentleman adventurer indeed." -- Times Educational Supplement
"A deceptively simple account of how he grew to manhood, shaped on one hand by the brutal elements of the Arctic, on the other by the compassionate communities of Inuit who understood them . . . This is a beautifully unadorned, homespun tale with a lack of self-consciousness rare in travel literature . . . I was charmed." -- Benedict Allen, Independent on Sunday
Boston : Houghton Mifflin, c2004.
xiv, 392 p. ;,22 cm.