Into a Distant Light by Mary Patterson Thornburg

Into a Distant Light by Mary Patterson Thornburg
Publisher: Uncial Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short story (6700 words)
Heat Level: sweet
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Lavender

When Lizzie and Robert married, she thought he’d had enough of adventure to last a lifetime. After all, his voyage above the Arctic Circle had been a near-fatal disaster, and he never talked about it at all. He’d never even written about it, except in a long letter to his sister. But someone, somehow, had found out. And now, given another chance, he couldn’t resist that call.
When he came back, of course, she would share in his fame, glory, and wealth. But what would happen to her if he didn’t come back?

Does anyone ever wonder what really happened to Frankenstein’s monster? The story goes that he went off into the distance to die. However, Mary Patterson Thornburg has a different story to tell, one from those who knew him or his “father” the doctor.

Packed into this short tale is quite a bit of story. Set in England during the Regency, we get an inside view of the doctor, and his creation, mostly from the point-of-view of an English explorer to the far north. This explorer, Robert Walton, rescued the doctor in the icy wilderness then heard a good tale of his own. He wrote to his sister with some interesting observations.

Robert comes home but then leaves again, returning to the North Pole, and this time, things won’t go so well for him. He finds himself in a dire situation, and the “monster” approaches him. From here, we get his side of the story.

The tone of this writing gives the feel of the era without being too much. It is a quick-paced account, and the years fly by within a few pages. However, not a lot happens until half-way through. I found myself wishing more of the main action was mixed in with the mundane details. Character development is good for such a short rendition. We get to know the characters with a few well-chosen words, and come to understand them.

The story may be short, but it was worth peeking into the life of a legend and hearing a new account of what “really” happened.


  1. Readers who know “Frankenstein” only from those Boris Karloff movies might be surprised that the Creature didn’t die in the destruction of Frankenstein’s lab – but in Mary Shelley’s book he really doesn’t die at all, just walks away from Robert Walton’s ice-bound ship up in the Arctic ice. I’ve always thought he should get the chance to be rescued, and eventually to tell what “really” happened after that. Thanks for this lovely review, Lavender! So glad you enjoyed the story!

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