One hundred years have passed since Robert Falcon Scott’s beleagured expeditionary team arrived at the South Pole, only to find that they had been beaten by the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen.
The most feted explorer of his generation, Amundsen counted the discovery of the Northwest Passage, in 1905, as well as the North Pole amongst his greatest achievements. In the golden age of polar exploration Amundsen, whose revolutionary approach to technology transcends polar and nautical significance, was a titan among men. However, until now, his story has rarely featured as more than a footnote to Scott’s tragic failure.
Reviled for defeating Scott but worshipped by his men, Amundsen was pursued by women and creditors throughout his life before disappearing on a rescue mission for the Italian Fascist who had set off in an airship to claim the North Pole for Mussolini. The Last Viking is the life of a visionary and a showman, who brought the era of Shackleton to an end, put the newly independent Norway on the map and was the twentieth century’s brightest trailblazing explorer.
Against the backdrop of the race to conquer the most inhospitable corners of the earth, The Last Viking stands alongside The Worst Journey in the World for its grim immediacy of heroism and hardship. Bestriding the generation defined by adventure and the unquenchable desire for discovery, it is the mesmerising story of courage, misery, friendship and the ultimate price paid for immortality.