"This novel of Arctic survival is based on one of the most remarkable events in polar exploration. In 1871, off the coast of Greenland, nineteen men, women, and children, voyaging on the Arctic explorer USS Polaris, were cast adrift on a large ice floe as their ship began to founder. Afterlands is the story of this small society of castaways - a white and a black American, five Germans, a Dane, a Swede, an Englishman, and two Inuit families - as they try to survive a six-month winter ordeal, struggling with the harsh elements and with one another, the group splintering into factions along ethnic and national lines." "Steven Heighton fills in the blanks of the documented history of this event by focusing on the suspicions, the hunger-induced delusions, and the unrequited longings among three members of the group: Roland Kruger, an educated, witty, rebellious German seaman; Tukulito, or "Hannah," the party's Inuit interpreter; and George Tyson, the American ranking officer, who later wrote an account of the experience that solidified his reputation as a hero while casting Kruger as the villain. Throughout the novel, Heighton incorporates actual passages from Tyson's contentious account, then daringly imagines the aftermath of the ordeal, following Kruger, Tukulito, and Tyson as they attempt to move beyond their searing memories and resume their lives in the larger world."--BOOK JACKET.