The Ice Sings Back

When a young girl goes missing in the remote wilderness of the western Oregon Cascades, her disappearance sets off a chain of events that reveal a long history of violence, abuse of power, and environmental precarity. This is a story of how four women make sense of the everyday extraordinary traumas that contour their lives, and how their individual strengths come together to sing a fierce hymn of survival.




ADVANCE PRAISE for The Ice Sings Back

Deftly written by a bold new writer equally adept at plumbing the depths of the human soul, navigating the stages of a wilderness search and rescue operation, or lovingly rendering the complex nature of glaciers.”
Joanna Kafarowski, author of Antarctic Pioneer and The Polar Adventures of a Rich American Dame

“Jackson adroitly weaves in science with the human connection to land, plants, and the power of glaciers.”
Maria Fadiman, PhD, Professor Geosciences, Florida Atlantic University, National Geographic Explorer, and Ethnobotanist

“M Jackson weaves her training as a scientist, intimate relationship with glaciers, explorer’s spirit, sensitivity to social justice, and literary soul into her masterpiece of a first novel.”
Nassim Assefi, author of Aria

“In this riveting debut novel, Dr. M Jackson knows the terrain on which her characters tread, thus giving her fiction a rare nonfictional authenticity.”
Saleem H. Ali, author of Earthly Order: How Natural Laws Define Human Life

“Jackson’s masterful story defies linear time and language and it’s ultimately an elegy for all harmed and disappeared women and girls, and for nature’s vanishing glaciers.”
Carol Devine, author of The Antarctic Book of Cooking and Cleaning 

The Ice Sings Back is written by a scientist who crafted it with the delicacy of a poet, and as a result, it contains the power of both.”
Prosanta Chakrabarty, author of Explaining Life Through Evolution

“This eloquent work of fiction is a brave attempt to cut open the hardest of hearts and let in the suffering of a planet.”
Clare Fieseler, author of No Boundaries: 25 Women Explorers and Scientists Share Adventures, Inspiration, and Advice

A haunting, gritty, incisive portrayal of trauma and empathy, The Ice Sings Back . . . [is] a powerful fiction debut, alive with vivid landscape imagery and electric dialogue between fascinating, troubled people.”
Nathaniel Ian Miller, author of The Memoirs of Stockholm Sven

“I cannot think of another novel that is anything like The Ice Sings Back: the location in the Cascades is a character, all the details about glaciers and mountains and rivers are part of the story—never a distraction, and the author packs so much information into the novel so seamlessly—but mostly, I loved the four women. They are so real. So tough, capable, and tender too. I keep thinking that what this book is really about, is ’that tremendous diversity of hurts’ in the world, and the power of nature to heal them, and humans to survive them to love again.
Heather Lende, Alaska State Writer Laureate, author of If You Lived Here, I’d Know Your Name, among others

“This novel dares to ask an unusual question about women in wilderness—why are they found in rivers, canyons, forests, and glaciers? Donna wonders if her parent is a serial killer; she tries to live with him without touching him. May navigates the thickly sliced work-a-day sexism of the fire department and discovers women’s bodies in a glacier even as she is being frozen out by her compadres. It is a treat to read women characters crafted with such complexity.The disappearance of women is at the center of four women’s lives, and the act of recovery is the greatest act of love among them. I was spellbound by the originality of this freshly told story.”
Kathryn Trueblood, author of Take Daily As Needed


DEBUT A young autistic girl goes missing in the Cascades near Eugene, OR, and the lives of four women are irrevocably changed. Leonie takes her daughter Amelia for a hike to see one of the glaciers left in the Cascades. But something about the glacier speaks to Amelia in ways Leonie can’t understand; not long after, Amelia disappears. She isn’t the first girl or woman to disappear in this wild area, and three other women are drawn into the mysteries, natural and manmade. May, a rookie paramedic trying to find her place in her small-town department, is assigned to help in the search. Ros, a researcher who crews a scientific outpost in the mountains, has her solitary existence upended by all the activity. Donna hopes to get answers from her dying abusive stepfather about what happened to her mother and why there are other women’s belongings in their isolated cabin. Each will learn more about what happened to Amelia and about the strength they all have as women.

VERDICT Jackson’s eco-thriller conveys the claustrophobia and power of the wilderness in which Amelia is lost and creates a creeping dread as each woman picks through her piece of the puzzle.

Environmentally-rich titles weaving women’s stories and hope:
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, 2018
Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang, 2018
Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah, 2019
Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver, 2001
Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid, 1997

The Ice Sings Back contains depictions of verbal and physical abuse; death of parents; death of a child; misogyny and sexist language.

Crash Course Climate and Energy hosted by M Jackson, PhD 


Whether you’re a librarian, a bookseller, or just a general lover of books, you know that independent presses and authors are publishing some of the most innovative, creative, and beautiful books. To honor the very best of indie publishing each year, we’re pleased to host the Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards! Thousands of books are entered each year, and over 100 librarians and booksellers take part in the judging process, narrowing down a group of finalists in 55 categories to Gold, Silver, and Bronze winners that truly represent the best in independent publishing.


Congrats to M Jackson for winning this prestigious award! Silver for Thriller/Suspense Fiction!

About the Author

Photo © Jake Dyson, NatGeo

Dr. M Jackson is a geographer, glaciologist, and science communicator exploring the intersections of societal transformation, glaciology, and climate change. Jackson is a National Geographic Society Explorer, TED Fellow, and three-time U.S. Fulbright Scholar, including two U.S. Fulbright-National Science Foundation Arctic Research grants. Jackson holds a doctorate and post-doctorate from the University of Oregon, and a Master of Science degree from the University of Montana. She serves as a U.S. Fulbright Ambassador, an Expert for National Geographic Expeditions, and was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zambia. Jackson is an active public speaker and author of the award-winning science books The Secret Lives of Glaciers (2019) and While Glaciers Slept: Being Human in a Time of Climate Change (2015). Jackson is the star of the Netflix hit series, Pirate Gold of Adak Island, and the Climate and Energy Host on Crash Course. Jackson has worked for over a decade in the Arctic and Antarctic exploring changing climates and communities.

About the Cover Artist/Illustrator

Cover artist Laura Harbage at her Vermont studio working on the artwork for the front cover.

Between her rural Michigan roots and a childhood filled with cross-country camping trips, Laura is at home in nature. Though her first love and primary medium is photography, Laura has also discovered a passion for gouache, watercolor, and digital design giving her another way to express the beauty she sees in the world around her. Currently living and working in Vermont, Laura continues to paint, take pictures, and enjoy long walks in the woods with her husband and dog.



312 pages; 6 x 9 / Hardcover
$24.95 Cloth / $12.99 e-book / $19.95 Softcover
ISBN: 979-8-9865324-1-7 (cloth)
ISBN: 979-8-9876631-2-7 (pbk)
Publication Date: February 20, 2023 (hardcover)
Publication Date: May 2, 2023 (softcover)
Distributor: IPG / Chicago
Rights sold: All rights available.
Rights contact: Dede Cummings

Distributor: IPG; also available through Ingram, Follett/Baker & Taylor, and other wholesalers.

Individuals can pre-order directly from,, online, or contact your local, independent bookstore.
Booksellers, libraries, colleges/universities, gift shops, etc., can order directly through IPG:
Independent Publishers Group
814 N. Franklin Street
Chicago, IL 60610
Order Placement: (800) 888-4741
Via email:

More ways to reach M

She travels a lot, often for extended periods in remote places, so she might not get back to you immediately. But she will. She likes to hear from people all over the world. Speaking Events, Presentations, or Interview requests: If you need to hear from her immediately please contact her publicist: Dede Cummings at

For a review copy—digital or print—email