Empire Antarctica: Ice, Silence & Emperor Penguins

By Gavin Francis


Following the penguins throughout the year - from a summer of perpetual sunshine to months of winter darkness, the author explores a world of great beauty conjured from the simplest elements, the hardship of living at 50degreeC below zero and the unexpected comfort that the penguin community bring.

Year of Publication


"Empire Antarctica is the embodiment of everything I admire in travel writing -- a great journey, intense isolation, wide reading, vivid writing, scientific research, and something in the nature of an old-fashioned ordeal. That Gavin Francis is a medical doctor, with an important role to play in the darkness and cold at the ends of the earth, is a bonus. I loved this book." -- Paul Theroux "One of the best travel titles I have read in a long time. Thoughtful, lyrical, extremely well written, it's a triumph." -- Giles Foden Conde Nast Traveller "A Sunday Times Travel Book of Month: 'A book full of wonder. Brilliantly imagined, superbly brought to life'" -- Anthony Sattin Sunday Times "A beautiful, profound and highly readable account of a remarkable personal adventure. Francis's pacing is deft, his prose vivid, his research worn lightly. This is probably as close as most of us will ever get to experiencing a modern polar winter. Empire Antarctica is surely destined to become a standard, not so much of travel as of staying very still." -- Ed O'Loughlin Daily Telegraph "Francis' best writing (and it is excellent)... is Robert Macfarlane on ice. This writing achieves the 'quilted quality' of silence, and through it we are brought to a new landscape of words." -- Katherine Macinnes Literary Review

Author Biography

Gavin Francis was born in 1975 and brought up in Fife, Scotland. After qualifying from medical school in Edinburgh he spent ten years travelling, visiting all seven continents. He has worked in Africa and India, made several trips to the Arctic, and crossed Eurasia and Australasia by motorcycle. His first book, True North, was published in 2008. He has lectured at the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge, the Edinburgh Book Festival, and is a regular speaker at the Royal Scottish Geographical Society. He lives in Edinburgh. www.gavinfrancis.com