Taking us from the beginning of our story to the present day, A Cold Spell examines how ice has shaped our thoughts, actions and societies – and what it means for us that it is rapidly disappearing from our planet‘Bracingly original . . . As the earth warms threateningly, there could hardly be a more pertinent time for a story like this’ MICHAEL PALIN‘A book of limitless fascinations’ OLIVIA LAING‘Brightly written, nimbly researched and really quite delightful’ LITERARY REVIEW‘[An] extraordinary, complete and utter history of the human experience of the cold stuff’ JOHN LEWIS-STEMPEL, COUNTRY LIFE‘A thought-provoking chronicle of humanity . . . Leonard consistently frames ice in surprising and insightful ways, and in doing so lends it a magical quality’ GEOGRAPHICALIce has confounded, delighted and fascinated us since the first sparks of art and culture in Europe and it now underpins the modern world. Without ice, we would not feed ourselves or heal our sick as we do, and our towns and cities, countryside and oceans would look very different. Science would not have progressed along the avenues it did and our galleries and libraries would be missing many masterpieces.A Cold Spell uses this vital link to understanding our past to tell a surprising story of obsession, invention and adventure – how we have lived and dreamed, celebrated and traded, innovated, loved and fought over thousands of years. It brings together a sacrificial Incan mummy, Winston Churchill’s secret plans for unusual aircraft carriers, strange bones that shook Victorian beliefs about the world and a macabre journey into the depths of the human body. It is an original and unique way of looking at something that is literally all around us, whose loss confronts us daily in the news, but whose impact on our lives has never been fully explored.