An offer to switch winter snow in Canada for summer sunshine in New Zealand presents a wonderful opportunity for magazine writer Blossom O’Sage. Her assignment is simple: find and interview the man who spent a long lonely winter in Antarctica’s Dry Valley region. The challenge is that Dermot Strongman and his family, through extreme circumstances, quietly disappeared from the public eye some 30 years earlier. They have effectively vanished.
Blossom’s investigation leads to a tiny village along the remote and beautiful Forgotten World Highway. Her story uncovers the strangest of tales and a chance encounter that forces her to confront her own emotions. Blossom finds courage in the shadows and realises that what we see is perhaps only one-ninth of what exists.
This intriguing book gets one’s attention right up front by trapping the chief protagonist in a hut in Antarctica to spend the whole of the nasty winter there all by himself. Or by himself, so he thought. The novel sets out to find what happened to him after his rescue. What did he discover during his incarceration? What experiences did he have? Why did the world think he was crazy? The underlying theme of the book is a deeply spiritual one. How is the current world treating the vulnerable continent at the bottom of the world? The characters in the story are very real and skilfully drawn. Oh, and did I mention that a lot of the book takes place in New Zealand, one of the loveliest places on the planet? –Jack Wynters, Nova Scotia.
“Graeme has a passion for words and story telling and wrapped his passion around Finding Dermot. He takes the reader from Canada to New Zealand and then to the Antarctic. It’s easy to fall in love with New Zealand as Graeme paints a vivid picture of its natural beauty, of its friendly people, and of the respect they have for their environment. Blossom, the main character is delightfully curious, likeable, and through her search for Dermot opens our eyes to explore life, love, and the unknowns. After reading Finding Dermot, I craved more about the desolate mysteries of the Antarctic. More than a look at New Zealand and the Antarctic, the book was a deep search within and a discovery of self, humanity, trust, and respect for all living things. — Barb Radu Sprenger, author of Sailing Through Life”
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A pleasure to read, this imaginative novel by Canada’s Calgary-based Graeme Connell is a real treasure. In New Zealand terms something of real value, a “taonga” – providing all-to-rare accurate contemporary views of both countries and the Antarctic continent from which his intriguing story-line evolves. Connell draws on his broad practical and personal experiences and his writing skills to provide fascinating lifestyle insights while weaving colourful story lines. An alliterative gem such as “Bar buzz bulged into the late afternoon….” is but one example of the sort of nuggets of prose that delight any reader. Easy to read and with great momentum, the story can be readily defined for its blue jeans style and pace. A tribute to the author and a comfortable, attractive, relaxed tale. — Charles Fordham, Paremata, New Zealand.
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“Graeme skillfully invites you into the hidden life of the secretive Dermot. This captivating first novel is a gem. We first meet Blossom, a Canadian free-lance writer, as she is deciding whether to take a chance on a long-shot assignment in New Zealand to locate Dermot. He vanished from the public eye some 40 years earlier after a traumatic experience in Antarctica. The book is full of interesting and accurate detail, the characters are believable, and the storyline is compelling. Finding Dermot just keeps getting better as more pages are turned. While just about anyone would like to read this story, it would resonate even more for those who enjoy Polar adventure, travel, nature or geology.” — Brenda Wiard, Colorado.
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