In skilled hands, the environment can become an important character in books. Particularly thrillers. Alaska, the real star of Rosamund Lupton‘s new novel The Quality of Silence, is staggeringly beautiful but a fickle friend, both protector and potential killer. A place that can “freeze your tears”. Yasmin and her 10-year old daughter Ruby arrive at Fairbanks Airport in the far north of Alaska. She is expecting a slightly tense reunion with her husband Matt a wildlife photographer. He has been away working in the remote community of Anaktue where Yasmin believes he has been having an affair with a local woman. Instead, they are met by the police who tell them that the whole settlement has been engulfed by an explosion, presumably ruptured gas tanks, and subsequent fire. There are no survivors.
Much of the action is seen through the eyes of Ruby. Profoundly deaf,