This might be the least successful of L"Engle's "Vicky" novels. For a long time she answered questions about "what happened to Vicky?" by saying that she wouldn't continue this protagonist's story until the moment was right and as someone who waited many years for that moment I was disappointed. Although L'Engle picks up the story where she left off after Ring of Endless Light, contemporary culture moved too fast, I think, in the interim. I wanted to love this book and wish I could report that I did.
This book was my favorite book in high school. Vicky Austin finds herself both in love and involved in an international mystery. Adam goes off to Antartica and Vicky is given the oppertunity to visit Antartica as a very generous birthday present. There she discovers the wonders of the penguins as well as a dark secret involving international affairs. Each chapter starts off with a bit from Vicky stranded on an iceberg and then flashes back to before she got there, which I find unique and an effective plot device. Re-reading it, I always discover bits and pieces I missed the first time, making the book have a not so obvious older reader appeal.
From Publishers Weekly
"Vicky Austin, the poetry-writing heroine of four of the Newbery Medalist's previous novels, finds herself caught in a web of political intrigue in this exotic, multilayered thriller. The high school junior is overjoyed when given the opportunity to travel to Antarctica to visit good friend Adam Eddington (introduced in A Ring of Endless Light ), a college student majoring in marine biology. Her enthusiasm wanes only slightly after she receives mysterious notes warning her to stay home. When she embarks on her journey, danger indeed seems to lurk around every corner--in one tense scene atop a pyramid, she is nearly pushed to her death. Her traveling companions, a colorful lot, include Otto, prince of Zlatovica; Esteban, a tour guide; and various eccentrics; as the voyage continues, their odd behavior intensifies Vicky's suspicions. Interspersed with flash-forwards of Vicky stranded on an iceberg, the intricate story line mounts in suspense. L'Engle, writing for a sophisticated audience, contrasts the purity of a frozen paradise with the burning greed of humans, and her stunning descriptions of the Antarctic waters and their inhabitants transmit a strong ecological message. Good overcomes evil in the end, but enough loose threads remain to suggest further adventures for the intrepid Vicky and Adam. Ages 12-up."