It's a circus when a government biologist and his assistant, a corporate environmental scientist, a photojournalist, and the American host of Wild World share a shack on stilts in sub-zero weather at the edge of Hudson Bay.
The polar bears, who have come inland with the break-up of the ice, have not eaten in months and are pacing the camp in anticipation. This research station at Cape Churchill, forty-nine kilometres east of Churchill, Manitoba, has become the centre of hostility and intrigue for its inhabitants, whose perceptions of environmentalism put them perilously at odds with each other.
Conditions at the research site are primitive and dangerous. Some of the visiting media grumble that Cape Churchill is the North American version of the Siberian gulag. Not so for Allsun Skelly, a freelance photojournalist, and her partner, environmental scientist Neal Cove. For them, the research site at the Cape is a rare opportunity to live among the most mystical of beasts: the great white bear, lord of the North. Life with a hungry horde of polar bears demands ingenuity, lightning reflexes, and constant vigilance. Thorpe, the head of the research project, does his best to protect his visitors, but accidents happen. Too many accidents. Bad luck--or so it appears. Not only is the camp menaced by storms, the researchers and the media are beleaguered by bear attacks. But, another force-- a malevolent force-- is at work in this isolated camp on the tundra..
An Albertan, D. A Barry claims the same divine right as k.d. lang: to be the incarnation of a talented but dead woman. Painter and writer Emily Carr's desire to see the heart of nature and the nature of man lives on in Barry-Quaife, whose previous works have taken us from Vancouver Island to the Amazon to the grave. Quaife’s latest novel is a thriller called Polar Circus, and was published under the name D.A. Barry. Polar Circus was short-listed for the Writers Guild of Alberta, Georges Bugnet Novel Award. Darlene Barry-Quaife also won the 1989 Commonwealth Writers Prize.