Beyond the Frozen Horizon

Beyond the Frozen Horizon

By Author / Illustrator

Nicola Penfold



Age range(s)



Little Tiger Press Group




Paperback / softback




The earth is thriving - with wilderness status protecting land and wildlife, and scientific organisations researching new ways to support human life sustainably. Rory's mum is a geologist on one of these projects, and Rory is beyond excited to join her on a work trip to the Arctic. But the project isn't all that it seems, and Rory soon learns what's at stake for the people and animals that live there...

A thrilling and thought-provoking ecological adventure from the author of the highly acclaimed Where the World Turns Wild and Between Sea and Sky. Perfect for fans of The Explorer, The Last Wild and Where the Rivers Run Gold. 

Find out more in our short video by author Nicola Penfold, and read her Q&A on ReadingZone



In 2030, the world leaders pledged a coordinated and unprecedented response to the Climate Crisis, introducing strict Climate Laws and establishing World Wilderness Zones, including the High Arctic. Rory's mum is an environmental geologist whose new job with Greenlight, a company which claims to have developed new ways of 'mining' in the Arctic using bacteria, offers mother and daughter the chance of a lifetime opportunity to travel to Svalbard - and Rory the chance to escape the misery of school.

On arrival, instead of a ghost town, they find a tiny community still inhabiting Pyramiden, living in harmony with nature and its wildlife. Initially, Rory is treated with suspicion and shunned by the locals until she makes friends with Mikkal, and together, they uncover some disturbing truths about the Greenlight project.

Nicola Penfold has quickly become one of my favourite authors. Her writing is completely absorbing, superbly crafted and thought provoking - and I think Beyond the Frozen Horizon is her best work yet. The importance of caring for our world is at the absolute core of this book and yet nothing about it is 'preachy' or patronising. The respect and care shown for the natural world by Mikkal and his people stands in harsh contrast to the real actions and purpose of those in charge of the Greenlight project. Rory stands between these two camps - she longs to believe in the company her mother is working for and yet is forced to face the realities of what she is seeing, taking the reader on a thought-changing journey about climate crisis, human impact on the planet and the need for change.

Evocative descriptions of the stark, yet stunning Arctic environment create a dramatic backdrop to the story. The perils of this environment, the fragility of human existence amid the cold and creatures which make it their home, is captured so vividly as Rory explores her new home, encountering danger and beauty in equal measure. Beyond the Frozen Horizon is a compelling adventure with a hint of the supernatural- I love the reference to Michelle Paver's Dark Matter (which gave me nightmares), another stunning novel set in the Arctic.

Any of Nicola's books would make an excellent key text to study and enjoy, but Beyond the Frozen Horizon is an absolute gift to any UKS2/ KS3 teacher in many ways. At story time, it would keep a class completely enraptured and absorbed; as a guided reader, it offers endless possibilities for rich, challenging work both guided and independent; as a class key text, it has the power of an engaging plot, the richness of language, interesting characters, links to other curricular areas and a satisfying conclusion to keep children absorbed and to inspire them to produce quality work in response. It is a fabulous book deserving great success!

320 pages / Reviewed by Sue Wilsher, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 9+


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