A magical, intoxicating debut novel, both intimate and epic, that intertwines the past, present, and future of two lovers bound by the passing of great comets overhead and a coterie of remarkable ancestors
Róisín and François are immediately drawn to each other when they meet at a remote research base on the frozen ice sheets of Antarctica. At first glance, the pair could not be more different. Older by a few years, Róisín, a daughter of Ireland and a peripatetic astronomer, joins the science team to observe the fracturing of a comet overhead. François, the base’s chef, has just left his birthplace in Bayeux, France, for only the second time in his life. Yet devastating tragedy and the longing for a fresh start, which they share, as well as an indelible yet unknown bond that stretches back centuries, connect them to each other.
Helen Sedgwick carefully unfolds their surprisingly intertwined paths, moving forward and back through time to reveal how these lovers’ destinies have long been tied to one other by the skies—the arrival of comets great and small. In telling Róisín and François’s story, Sedgwick illuminates the lives of their ancestors, showing how strangers can be connected and ghosts can be real, and how the way we choose to see the world can be as desolate or as beautiful as the comets themselves.
A beautiful, skillfully crafted, and emotionally perceptive novel that explores the choices we make, the connections we miss, and the ties that inextricably join our fates, The Comet Seekers reflects how the shifting cosmos unites us all through life, beyond death, and across the whole of time.
Helen Sedgwick is a writer, editor, and former research physicist. She won a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award and her writing has been published internationally and broadcast on BBC Radio 4. She has performed at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, the Edinburgh Fringe, and Glasgow’s Aye Write. Having grown up in London, she now lives in the Scottish highlands with her partner, photographer Michael Gallacher.
“Haunting and beautiful, THE COMET SEEKERS follows a constellation of lives from modern Antarctica to medieval England, all of them connected by an extraordinary mystery hidden deep in the past. A captivating story, deftly told, about those who are driven to explore, and those who must stay behind.”—Helene Wecker, New York Times bestselling author of THE GOLEM AND THE JINNI
“Helen Sedgwick has written a first novel of remarkable grace, beauty and insight, in which a careful love of language meets an immense storytelling talent. I was moved and inspired by this book.”
—Joseph O’Connor, author of STAR OF THE SEA
- Like Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, and Eowyn Ivey’s The Snow Child, The Comet Seekers imbues the world we recognize with unique supernatural elements, creating impressive literary fiction that doesn’t shy away from mythology.