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The Arctic code
First edition.
New York, NY : Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2015]
Physical Description:
324 pages ; 22 cm.
Series title(s):
Number in series:
bk. 1.
The Earth is in the grip of a new Ice Age, and when twelve-year-old Eleanor's scientist mother disappears in the Arctic, Eleanor sets off on a dangerous journey to find her--and uncovers a mystery, a crime, and evidence that Earth has been visited by extraterrestrials.
Reading Level:
Ages 8-12.


Call Number

On Order



Perfect for fans of the Percy Jackson and Seven Wonders series, The Arctic Code is the first book in an epic, fast-paced middle grade adventure trilogy by acclaimed author Matthew J. Kirby.

It is the near future, and the earth has entered a new ice age. Eleanor Perry lives in Tucson, one of the most popular destinations for refugees of the Freeze. She is the daughter of a climatologist who is trying to find new ways to preserve human life on the planet. Dr. Perry believes that a series of oil deposits she has found in the Arctic may hold the key to our survival. That's when she disappears--but not before sending Eleanor a series of cryptic messages that point to a significant and mysterious discovery. Now it's up to Eleanor to go find her.

This search will launch Eleanor on a breathless race to unlock the mysteries of what has happened to our planet, solving the riddle of the cold that could be humanity's end--and uncovering a threat to the earth that may not be of this world.

Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-7-In the first of this new sci-fi series, the northern part of the world is enveloped in the Freeze, a new ice age that is steadily creeping southward. Twelve-year-old "devilishly clever" Eleanor Perry is safe in relatively warmer Phoenix, AZ. While hoards of northern refugees flood into the city and are housed in buildings plagued by crime, plumbing issues, and power outages, she lives comfortably in the suburbs with her geologist mother and uncle. Currently, her mom is in the Arctic, exploring the frigid ice sheet for a nonprofit organization. Eleanor grows concerned when she receives a cryptic message from her mom, which includes mysterious files from G.E.T., the monolithic and suspicious energy corporation headed by the equally untrustworthy Dr. Skinner. She learns that her mother has gone missing and determinedly stows away on a plane bound for the Arctic. Upon arrival, Eleanor discovers that G.E.T. and Dr. Skinner control everything involving the exploration. Eleanor doesn't trust the doctor's motives and she secretly sets out to find her mom. What she discovers will surprise her-and readers. This is an exciting, page-turning tale. Middle grade readers will be compelled by Eleanor's daredevil adventure to find her mom and thrilled as she unearths some startling secrets. VERDICT While the scientific descriptions may be confusing at times, intrepid readers will be rewarded with an action-packed, intriguing story.-Diane McCabe, John Muir Elementary, Santa Monica, CA (c) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

The Earth has entered a new Ice Age in this initial installment of Kirby's Dark Gravity Sequence, and a girl braves the killing cold of the Arctic when she goes in search of her missing mother. Eleanor Perry's mother is a geologist working in Alaska. Just before she vanishes, she sends Eleanor a mysterious message filled with information Eleanor must keep safe. Worried, Eleanor stows aboard a plane headed for Alaska, little knowing that she's embarking upon a wild and dangerous escapade. The Earth's new layer of ice may not be entirely natural, and the powerful Global Energy Trust, led by the brilliant Dr. Skinner, may not be entirely trustworthy. As always, Kirby (The Lost Kingdom) delivers a fast-paced, intense story, albeit one that goes off the rails a little as it shifts from a subzero struggle for survival to something much stranger, larger, and more unpredictable. However, readers should still find it easy to root for headstrong, resourceful Eleanor as she barrels ahead, heedless of consequences, trying to save her mother. Ages 8-12. Agent: Stephen Fraser, Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

A new ice age has struck, forcing scientists to find alternative energy sources, fast. When her mother, geologist Dr. Perry, disappears on an expedition, Eleanor suspects foul play and travels undercover to the Arctic to save her. Occasionally the text's tone slips from sci-fi to science class, but overall Kirby's story is smart, exhilarating, and timely. (c) Copyright 2015. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

A sudden ice age has near-future humanity on the ropes, but neither glaciers nor a vast conspiracy to hide their cause stops a preteen from heading into the Arctic in search of her missing mother.Galvanized by a set of secret files sent just before her geologist mom disappears, Eleanor sets out from frigid Phoenix for a research lab in nearly uninhabitable Alaska. She finds that both the area and the search have been taken over by climatologist Aaron Skinner, smooth-talking CEO of gigantic Global Energy Trust. Eleanor's suspicions that G.E.T. is up to no good are confirmed after she is (wait for it) rescued by a Paleolithic hunter with weird eyes who takes her to a huge ice cavern. There, an ancient alien machine called a Concentrator is sucking "telluric current" from Earth's ley lines and beaming it to a previously unknown rogue planet that has knocked Earth out of its orbit. Taking all of this in stride more easily than readers, particularly thinking ones, are likely to, Eleanor marshals her forces, at least temporarily deals with the current bad guys and flies off to find other Concentrators in future episodes before G.E.T. can. A confused jumble of fantasy and science-fictional elements make a notably unsteady foundation for Kirby's newest series. (Science fantasy. 11-13) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* It's a new Ice Age on earth, and ever since the glaciers have moved south, refugees have been pouring into warmer climates, which are often just as cold as the rest of the world. Eleanor lives in ever-more-crowded Phoenix with her uncle, while her mother, a climatologist working for a nonprofit energy company, is in the Arctic trying to find new energy resources to help humankind survive against the predatory practices of a for-profit behemoth, the Global Energy Trust. When she disappears, right after sending Eleanor a cryptic series of messages and numbers with the directive to keep the information safe, Eleanor knows something serious is going on, and she packs up her survival gear and hitches a ride on a cargo plane headed to Barrow, Alaska. With the assistance of the plucky pilot, Eleanor relies on her determination, resourcefulness, and intelligence to help her mother and uncover the secret about the earth's climate crisis. The ripped-from-the-headlines elements of global climate change and rising energy prices will pique the interest of many readers, and the thrilling pace and compelling characters will likely keep them flipping the pages into the wee hours of the morning. An exciting, thought-provoking adventure.--Roush, Suanne Copyright 2015 Booklist