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Ice Floes and Frost

Annotated Titles

Altitude zéro
Michel Noël
Montréal : Hurtubise HMH, 2005. 373 p.
ISBN 2894288484
Ages 12 and up

Altitude zéro combines two stories, La ligne de trappe and L'homme de la toundra. Bush pilot and author Michel Noël brings his personal experience to the story, and is perfectly qualified to capture the state of mind of victims of an airplane crash in the Arctic.

Will one of the few survivors, Matchewen, a Métis, be able to use his instinct and understanding of nature to interpret the marks that have been left by trappers to retrace their route? The hopes and feelings that sustain human beings while trying to survive provide the backdrop for La ligne de trappe.

In L'homme de la toundra, bush pilot Pierre McKenzie's plane crashes into a lake, which sinks during a storm. After taking refuge in a shed, he returns to the wreckage to recover whatever equipment can still be used. On the wall of the shed, he also discovers a drawing showing how to obtain help. What ensues is an almost superhuman challenge, involving walking through swamps and coping with cold and hunger for several days. In this solitary journey across the tundra he discovers the depths of his own determination and extraordinary strength, which ultimately gives new meaning to his life.


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