"Disarmingly captivating memoir . . . A wholly fascinating, evocative glimpse
of a harsh, lost world." Kirkus Reviews, starred review,
"[Maurice] recounts his youthful adventures in a graceful style reminiscent
of the great 20th-century explorers." Publishers Weekly
Edward Beauclerk Maurice almost did not go to the Arctic. If a Hudson's Bay Company recruiter had not shown up at his English boarding school, the sixteen-year-old Maurice would have moved with his family to New Zealand and led a very different life. But his imagination had been captured, and he signed on to go. The Last Gentleman Adventurer: Coming of Age in the Arctic (Houghton Mifflin, November 1, 2005) is Maurice's exhilarating true story of his struggles and triumphs living and working in the Canadian Arctic.
In June 1930, young Maurice sets off from London on his life-altering journey. From Pangnirtung to Frobisher Bay, he travels to trading posts around Baffin Island, a Canadian territory just south of Greenland. He is eager for excitement in this new land, but the na´ve, sheltered, accident-prone teenager has much to learn. Maurice is so fresh-faced the Inuit call him "the Boy."
In this remote environment he slowly sheds his innocence and the Inuit begin calling him Issmatak ("He Who Thinks"). Maurice learns the Inuit language and way of life from his new companions, among them Innukpowak, the widow of a local hunter; Ooleepika, a female hunter, a rarity here; and Evi, a medicine man.
When an epidemic threatens the Inuit population at the Frobisher Bay Post, Maurice embraces the roles of doctor, hunter, and savior of the community. A mutual relationship of love and respect is forged.
The Last Gentleman Adventurer chronicles Maurice's first years in the Arctic, embodying a remarkable sense of a lost world. He left in 1939 to serve in World War II and never returned to the land and people who claimed his heart. This thrilling surprise of a book is a testament to the Inuit people the story of how they shaped the heart and mind of Edward Beauclerk Maurice.
Edward Beauclerk Maurice, who was born in 1913, traveled to the Arctic
at the age of sixteen, where he worked at a number of trading posts on behalf of the Hudson's Bay Company.
In 1935 he left Baffin Island, returning to England for a year before the lure of the Arctic pulled him back. He managed posts in northern Quebec and Southampton Island before leaving the Arctic for good in 1939.
Maurice then joined his family in New Zealand and served in the navy during World War II.
After the war, he returned to his native England and became a bookseller, rarely traveling again. He died in 2003 at the age of ninety, as The Last Gentleman Adventurer, his only book, was being readied for publication.