This Exhilarating novel of great depth and power is the story of one man's quest for the secret of his origins that ranges from nineteenth-century St. John's to the bustling streets of New York to the remotest regions of the Arctic.
When Devlin is a young child, he and his mother, Amelia, are suddenly abandoned by his father, Dr. Francis Stead, who flees St. John's to practise medicine among the Eskimos. Soon after, Amelia disappears into the icy ocean off Signal Hill. Rather than return home, his father joins the American Lieutenant Perry on one of his attempts to reach the North Pole, but wanders off from camp one night and is never seen again. Now orphaned, Devlin grows up an outcast and a loner.
And then one day he receives an extraordinary letter- a letter that will challenge everything Devlin ever thought he knew about himself. He will sail from St. John's to New York to become the protègé of Dr. Frederick Cook, Perry's great rival in the race for the pole. While in Manhattan, he falls in love with a young woman who has an astonishing family connection to Amelia.
In The Navigator of New York, Wayne Johnston's descriptions of place --whether of the frozen Arctic wastes or the city of New York, bursting with the energy of a metropolis about to become the capital
city of the globe -- evoke an extraordinary physicality and conviction. A remarkable achievement that seamlessly weaves fact and fabrication, it continues the masterful reinvention of the historical novel Wayne Johnston began with his lavishly praised The Colony of Unrequited Dreams and illustrates why he has been called "the most distinctive talent this country has produced since Mordecai Richler" (The Globe and Mail).