In the latter half of the 19th century, many scientists believed that there was an Open Polar Sea that could be reached by ship once they had pushed past the outer ring of ice. A race between many of the wealthier countries began to see who could claim the route for both trade purposes and bragging rights. The U.S.S. Jeannette expedition was a joint venture between eccentric newspaper publisher James Gordon Bennett Jr. and the U.S. Navy. Consisting of 31 officers and crew, the Jeannette aimed for the North Pole but was quickly locked in shifting ice floes, dragging them far off course for nearly 2 years. In the Kingdom of Ice starts off slowly as we are introduced to the main players and their limited knowledge of the poles, and quickly turns into an exciting and harrowing real-life adventure novel, filled with daring rescues, amazing inventions, and battles with Mother Nature.