All the White Spaces: A Novel (Hardcover)
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Something deadly and mysterious stalks the members of an isolated polar expedition in this haunting and spellbinding historical horror novel, perfect for fans of Dan Simmons’s The Terror and Alma Katsu’s The Hunger.
In the wake of the First World War, Jonathan Morgan stows away on an Antarctic expedition, determined to find his rightful place in the world of men. Aboard the expeditionary ship of his hero, the world-famous explorer James “Australis” Randall, Jonathan may live as his true self—and true gender—and have the adventures he has always been denied. But not all is smooth sailing: the war casts its long shadow over them all, and grief, guilt, and mistrust skulk among the explorers.
When disaster strikes in Antarctica’s frozen Weddell Sea, the men must take to the land and overwinter somewhere which immediately seems both eerie and wrong; a place not marked on any of their part-drawn maps of the vast white continent. Now completely isolated, Randall’s expedition has no ability to contact the outside world. And no one is coming to rescue them.
In the freezing darkness of the Polar night, where the aurora creeps across the sky, something terrible has been waiting to lure them out into its deadly landscape…
As the harsh Antarctic winter descends, this supernatural force will prey on their deepest desires and deepest fears to pick them off one by one. It is up to Jonathan to overcome his own ghosts before he and the expedition are utterly destroyed.
About the Author
Ally Wilkes grew up in a succession of isolated—possibly haunted—country houses and boarding schools. After studying law at Oxford, she went on to spend eleven years as a criminal barrister. Ally now lives in Greenwich, London, with an anatomical human skeleton and far too many books about Polar exploration. You can follow Ally on Twitter @UnheimlichManvr.
“ALL THE WHITE SPACES is a heady and haunting mix of historical fiction, polar survival horror, and a meditation on gender, identity, and the enduring mysteries of the self. You won't soon forget Jonathan Morgan and his trial by ice.”
— Paul Tremblay, author of A HEAD FULL OF GHOSTS and SURVIVOR SONG
"Deeply haunting and full of dread, ALL THE WHITE SPACES beautifully balances grief and loss with concepts of family honor and self-determination, in the midst of frozen survival horror with echoes of Dan Simmons and John Carpenter. Highly recommended."
— Christopher Golden, New York Times bestselling author of ROAD OF BONES
"Frozen into the desolation and isolation of Antarctica, this stunning debut delivers a thrilling tale of survival, terror and strength that will chill you to the core."
— Tim Lebbon, New York Times bestselling author of EDEN and THE SILENCE
"ALL THE WHITE SPACES is a sly and unsettling gem of a book that makes for an immersive read. The storytelling is as taut as the setting is stark, and rife with creeping dread . . . I was chilled to the bone while reading it, and could not put it down. I loved every frostbitten word!"
— Camilla Bruce, author of YOU LET ME IN
“A journey into winter, a growing sense of isolation, a battle with the elements and facing down the ghosts of the past – Ally Wilkes has taken some of my very favorite ingredients and bound them into a deliciously spooky and compulsive tale. Ideal for a dark evening, though you might want to draw a little closer to the fire . . .”
— Alison Littlewood, author of A COLD SEASON and THE HIDDEN PEOPLE
"This story took me to another age, another place . . . I would say it’s timely, but that would hide a more important fact, that it’s timeless."
— Francesco Dimitri, author of THE BOOK OF HIDDEN THINGS
“An intricately described story of loss, self-discovery and belonging . . . Wonderfully immersive; I heard every creak and was bitten by the freezing fog. ALL THE WHITE SPACES is a ghost story of the heart that becomes a harrowing battle for survival in malicious barrens. It reads like The Terror meets The Thing in Antarctica.”
— Louis Greenberg, author of EXPOSURE
"A gripping narrative that is at once explorer’s yarn, trans man’s coming-of-age story, and a tale of a survivor grappling with horrors that defy definition . . . from gritty seafaring challenges to a desperate struggle with demons that blur the line between the supernatural and the subconscious. Fans of historical horror will be enthralled."
— Publishers Weekly
"ALL THE WHITE SPACES is a masterpiece. A journey of discovery that left me breathless and emotional for all the right reasons. With this powerful debut, Ally Wilkes has not arrived quietly on the horror scene; she has scaled a towering iceberg and roared."
— Rio Youers, critically-acclaimed author of LOLA ON FIRE
"ALL THE WHITE SPACES will chill you to the bone – a haunting, claustrophobic tale of a sibling following his late brothers’ ambitions to an inexorable conclusion."
— Marie O’Regan, author of THE LAST GHOST AND OTHER STORIES, editor of PHANTOMS and THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF GHOST STORIES BY WOMEN
"ALL THE WHITE SPACES is an old-fashioned adventure story with a refreshing modern twist and a healthy dose of atmosphere and spookiness. Best savored on a blustery winter night, with a hot beverage and a warm blanket for company."
— Shaun Hamill, author of A COSMOLOGY OF MONSTERS
"Riveting, a tale haunted by the ghosts of war and the frozen terrors of an Antarctic landscape - and the things that wait in the winter dark."
— Angela Slatter, Award-winning author of ALL THE MURMURING BONES
"Eerie and provocative in equal measure. Beautifully written . . . with characters that linger a long while in the imagination."
— J.S. Barnes, author of DRACULA'S CHILD
"An incredibly well-told story of loss, personal discovery, and the dangers of messing with unknown forces, both natural and supernatural. Wilkes masterfully builds a sense of dread and desperation."
— California Reading
"Ally Wilkes is truly masterful, and ALL THE WHITE SPACES is not so much of a debut than an Antarctic blast from the ice-ridden throat of some terrible behemoth, entreated in from the frozen darkness. Desolate, gnawing horror that sinks right to the marrow in the best possible way."
— Matt Wesolowski, author of the award-winning Six Stories series
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"I have three words for you: polar, survival, and horror. I’ve had this debut on my list since late 2021. It should be on your radar, too."
— Gabino Iglesias, LitReactor
"A vivid, immersive tale about a fictional British expedition to the Antarctic in 1919-20 – classic territory, but with a transgender perspective . . . A gripping read. On top of that . . . is the element of supernatural horror. Here, too, the author excels, creating a new sort of ghost story in the empty, icy wastes."
— The Guardian, "The Best Recent Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror."
"The age of Antarctic exploration gets a new (and terrifying) twist."
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"The desolation of the Arctic and human desperation . . . might intrigue fans of The Terror or The Thing."
— Den of Geek, "Best New Horror Books"
"A great debut . . . If you’re into supernatural, psychological thrillers, this is perfect for you. This book will keep you on the edge of your seat and you won’t want to put it down."
— Red Carpet Crash
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— USA Today