The Arctic explorer Edward Parry was among the most admired heroes of the 1820s, and his four narratives, all published by John Murray, won exceptionally high praise from reviewers. However, the praise was not unmixed with criticism. This article examines the reception of the third narrative, which was the least favourably received of the four. Reviewers' praise of it was often combined with insinuations that the true aim of the Admiralty expeditions led by Parry and his fellow naval officers was the production of luxurious and profitable quartos (or, as it was then termed, 'book-making'). Many of the reviews demonstrate a sceptical and highly sophisticated approach to exploration literature as a genre. The case of Parry's third narrative therefore demonstrates the complexity of the processes through which the credibility and cultural authority of exploration narratives were negotiated.