River Thieves and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
CDN$ 15.16
  • List Price: CDN$ 21.00
  • You Save: CDN$ 5.84 (28%)
FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25.
Only 2 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.ca.
Gift-wrap available.
Quantity:1
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

River Thieves Paperback – Aug 27 2002


See all 10 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
CDN$ 15.16
CDN$ 15.16 CDN$ 0.01

2014 Books Gift Guide
Thug Kitchen is featured in our 2014 Books Gift Guide. More gift ideas

Frequently Bought Together

River Thieves + Sweetland
Price For Both: CDN$ 35.22


Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought



Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor Canada (Aug. 27 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385658176
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385658171
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 3 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #13,624 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

2001 Amazon.ca/Books in Canada First Novel Award Shortlist:: In River Thieves, his first novel, poet and short-story writer Michael Crummey reaches far into Newfoundland's past to tell one of the colony's most tragic stories: the extermination of the Beothuk people. Through the lives and reminiscences of some of the colony's most prominent European residents--David Buchan, a naval explorer and idealist who attempts to bring the isolated Beothuks into productive contact with the British Empire; John Peyton Jr., the obedient son of a relentlessly patriarchal local trader; Cassie Jure, John Peyton Sr.'s literate, aloof housekeeper; and Joseph Reilly, a transported Irish thief and a genuinely decent trapper--Crummey recounts a half-hearted attempt, foiled by the colony's petty tensions, to save the Beothuks.

River Thieves is an oddly meandering novel, but this is its greatest appeal. Rather than offering a grisly, guilt-ridden adventure story that rushes from its suitably portentous beginning to its inevitably sombre end, Crummey works with a fitful sort of history, one that has to go over the same events a few times before they begin to give up their secrets, temporarily leaving his readers as disoriented as his benighted characters. The book's real heart--the Beothuks—is never fully articulated; they remain buried on the shore, or encamped among the snows of Red Indian Lake. Anyone who wants this kind of story to come equipped with heroes and, perhaps, even answers, should turn to Rudy Wiebe, but Crummey's labyrinthine approach has its own distinct appeal. --Jack Illingworth

From Publishers Weekly

Trudging across the same harsh, icy fictional terrain that's fired the imagination of such writers as William Vollman, Andrea Barrett and Wayne Johnston, Crummey, an award-winning poet (Arguments with Gravity), has produced a poetic but ponderous tale of the colonization of Newfoundland and the last days of its Beothuk Indians. As the novel opens in 1810, grim family patriarch and homesteader John Senior (his face looks "hard enough to stop an axe") has kept up a hostile standoff with the Beothuk for years. But John Senior's blood feud with the Indians doesn't sit well with his idealistic son, John, with his spirited housekeeper, Cassie, or with David Buchan, a lieutenant in the Royal Navy who organizes a peacekeeping expedition to the Indian territories. When the mission goes awry and two soldiers are left headless in the snow, John Senior and the settlers set out to exact their revenge on the natives. Fitting for a book about history and the mapping of a lost world, Crummey's story is shaped by the vagaries of memory, perpetually circling back on itself to fill in narrative and historical details. And as is sometimes typical of a first novel by a seasoned poet, Crummey's story struggles to maintain momentum, dilating at length on the meaning and limitations of language. Each Beothuk word that survives, he writes, "has the heft of a museum artifact." The same might be said of Crummey's prose ("Fat dripped into the fire, the smell of it darkening the air like a bruise") and his characters' stilted behavior, which gives rise to a panorama of Newfoundland history and mythology as carefully composed but as lifeless as a dusty museum diorama.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most helpful customer reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By L. Stenzel on Sept. 23 2002
Format: Paperback
Whether real or imagined I seem to be reading more work by writers and stories about Newfoundland. This is the first novel by Michael Crummey and, "River Thieves", is a very strong debut. The book has been compared to, "Cold Mountain", that I have not read, and to, "In The Fall", which I very much enjoyed. This work is not as sweeping a story as Jeffrey Lent's first book, however if you enjoy his writing you will enjoy this tale as well.
This story takes place primarily in the very early 19th Century although there are references to years that bracket the story. The atmosphere I take to be absolutely on point, as the author was borne and continues to live in the same settings on which his book takes place. This leap of faith is difficult to make when the reader has never been to the locale of the book, but Michael Crummey makes the presumption effortless.
The story is ostensibly about the demise of the, "Red Indians", or "The Beothuk". The reasons for the near extinction of these people is the result of the same effects felt throughout the Americas that settlers from Europe either brought with them, or practiced, disease or their desire to take the native population's land. Had the author restricted himself to this review of history, the book would have been too familiar. Instead the author gets deeply involved with a variety of players, and by sharing their stories reveals the fate of the Beothuk as well.
Included are settlers, criminals from England that have been transported, as well as the government officials that were the rule of law. The author also departs from attitudes and the people who hold and act on them.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
By Rodge TOP 50 REVIEWER on Feb. 11 2010
Format: Paperback
Rather than checking out Galore which was getting good reviews, I decided to have a go at River Thieves first. It was a bit poetic and meandering for my taste, but I can't deny the skill and the worthiness of the story. The narrative structure is a bit convenient, parts of the tale moved all around in an attempt to maximize impact. Nothing wrong with telling a story that way, but I found the big revelations less impactful due to the fact that the skeleton the writer had put in place was a little too visible, so to speak.

Considering how Crummey has researched and brought history to life in a way that goes beyond recreation of events and avoids cheap dramatic devices, this is a book that demands I proceed to the next to see how Crummey develops his craft.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
By Diane M. Schuller TOP 1000 REVIEWER on Sept. 18 2003
Format: Paperback
Michael Crummey's enjoyable story of the Beothuk is engaging, shocking, and full of well researched history. But, don't expect a textbook here, this is pure and fulfilling fiction.
To avoid restating the other review, this is a well-told story with some unfolding mystery and very fine use of language: strong nouns and verbs don't need the supporting cast of adjectives often used by other writers.
Definitely a recommended read. And, no, this is not a woman-only book: MEN, you'll definitely enjoy this.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
By Susan M. on Nov. 2 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not really....well written, but too descriptive and slow in spots. The characters were not well developed for me to sympathize with them. Some of theses scenes were gratuitous. Unfortunately I was comparing this to the Orenda and it didn't measure up. I will read another by him to give him another chance.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.

Look for similar items by category


Feedback