When Mark Lowes contacted me and asked me to read his debut novel, I was intrigued by the blurb. I will also admit that I wasn’t very sure if it would be “my thing” as snows, blizzards and the Arctic are not m usual habitat! Well, what can I say, I am so glad I decided to step out of my comfort zone for this!
Before I share my thoughts, here’s what the official blurb says:
Alone and stranded in the Arctic wasteland, would you risk your life to save a stranger or try to get home?
Paul is a father-to-be; traumatised by his past, he’s terrified of becoming a father after his own beat him until he was unilaterally deaf. While working as a freelance cameraman in the Arctic, he’s caught in a blizzard, separated from his crew, and falls into a chasm. Alone, and waiting for death to come, personal demons plague his mind.
When a young native girl falls into the chasm with him, Paul must learn how to accept responsibility and what it takes to give your life for a child.
FERAL SNOW, while a tense and action-packed story, is an intimate journey between two polar opposites and how love can be forged in the unlikeliest of circumstances.
Preying on some of my worst fears, something extremely dark drew me into the pages of Feral Snow and pulled me under, keeping me there until the very last page.
When Paul finds himself stranded in the Arctic, you might be forgiven at first for thinking it serves him right, after all this was the man who turned his back on all his responsibilities but as his story slowly unfolds, then so does the understanding. And when he is found by 12 year old Nanny, both of them need each other to survive and so the painful lesson of responsibility begins for Paul.
This was a heart stopping rollercoaster ride of a read; the author created an intense sense of place, in fact it was so intense I had to keep putting the book down to recover. But it’s not just about the terror he instilled; this was a deeply emotional read as Paul’s story unfolds as he hovers on the brink of death. Surreal at times but fierce in its intensity.
Icily, atmospheric, menace drips from every page, hell, sometimes from every word! Eerily immersive this is way different to anything I’ve read in a while and I felt a knot of anxiety grow deep in my belly as I frantically turned each page anxious to know what happened.
There are some fascinating facts about the Arctic, wildlife and the environment perfectly woven into the fabric of the story, many of which will remain in my mind, long after the last page was turned.
Thrilling it is, but it is way more than just chills and thrills, this is a deeply emotional read and I’m not ashamed to say I felt myself moved to tears on more than one occasion, regrets, bonds, family, trust and love are all explored, chewed over and explored again, leaving me an emotional wreck at the end.
This is a debut not to be missed, go buy it now. You will not be disappointed!
Feral Snow is available to purchase via
About the author
Mark Lowes is a former teacher, current early childhood educator, and future dad. He lives in Cardiff, Wales, UK, and is sometimes found lamenting over how awful his football team is. While he’s not working with deaf children and their families, he’s writing dark and twisty fiction.
Mark is the winner of Litopia’s Pop-Up Submissions and of a pitch contest at the Cardiff Book Festival.