In the summer of 1881, when the ship that dropped off the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition sailed for home, these twenty-five men could not have known that only a handful would survive their three-year assignment. Commanded by Lt. A. W. Greely, this was the first attempt of the United States to engage in scientific study of the Arctic. Support of promised re-supply never reached them, leaving the men abandoned by the very government that had sent them up. Beset by gelid cold, scurvy, and the madness of starvation the men start to die. Sgt. Brainard, a man of energy and integrity, alone possesses the ability to hold off their utter moral degeneration, yet cannibalism takes place. The author has used letters and journal entries to ensure immediacy to an Arctic story that really happened, that pits men, in their fight to stay alive, against their better selves and the consequences of becoming bestial.