In the spring of 1852, Killigrew leaves England, bound for the arctic, on a voyage to discover the North-West Passage. Killigrew is keen to make a name for himself as an explorer, but their ship, HMS Venturer, soon runs into trouble. Eventually they find themselves frozen, deep in the heart of the arctic. A captain with questionable sanity, a polar bear with a taste for human flesh and the misery of an arctic winter, all push Killigrew to his limits. All ideas of fame and fortune are forgotten and there is only one word on everyone's mind and that's survival.