Discover the gripping stories of the men and women who have faced the challenge of the fragile yet fearsome subantarctic islands.
‘They’re not covered in ice, but they can be brutally cold. Despite our globalized, 21st-century world of frequent flying, they are rarely visited. Most of them are uninhabited by humans, yet they are teeming with wildlife.’
The subantarctic islands in the Roaring Forties and Furious Fifties latitudes circle the globe above Antarctica. They are buffeted by wind and rain all year round, and are full of exotic plants and animals.
Sometimes known as the ‘forgotten islands’ due to their remoteness, New Zealand’s and Australia’s subantarctic islands are protected World Heritage sites, recognized globally for their unique environments. The islands have also had their share of human visitors over the centuries, including intrepid explorers, plundering sealers, optimistic farmers, isolated astronomers, desperate castaways, wartime coastwatchers, pioneering scientists, and adventure tourists.
Written by a descendant of two subantarctic settlers from Britain, and featuring stunning photographs, ‘Trial of Strength’ brings these historical tales to life for a 21st-centuryaudience, while inspiring a lasting appreciation for some of the most remote parts of our planet.
Shona Riddell is the great-great granddaughter of Harriet Cripps, who was born to two British colonists on the remote Auckland Islands in 1851. In 2016, Shona sailed south to experience the wild subantarctic climate for herself.
Shona has worked as an English teacher in Germany, and has a Graduate Diploma in Journalism. She has been published in a variety of publications, including the ‘NZ Herald’ and the ‘Otago Daily Times’, on topics from book reviews to her personal experiences. Her first book was published in 2014, a children’s book called ‘The Tale of the Anzac Tortoise’ (also with Exisle Publishing). ‘Trial of Strength’ is her second book, and she is now working on her third, which will also involve history and remote locations.
Shona has lived in London and Berlin, got married in Las Vegas, and currently lives in Wellington, New Zealand, with her husband and two daughters, where she works as a full-time writer.