A panoramic epic, a magnificent piece of storytelling, an unforgettable debut novel
As winter tightens its grip on the isolated settlement of Canadas Dove River in 1867, a man is brutally murdered and a 17-year-old boy disappears. Tracks leaving the dead mans cabin head north toward the forest and the tundra beyond.
In the wake of such violence, people are drawn to the township—journalists, Hudson Bay Company men, trappers, traders—but do they want to solve the crime or exploit it? One-by-one the assembled searchers set out from Dove River, pursuing the tracks across a desolate landscape home only to wild animals, madmen, and fugitives, variously seeking a murderer, a son, two missing sisters, a forgotten Native culture, and a fortune in stolen furs.
In an astonishingly assured debut, Stef Penney weaves adventure, suspense, revelation, and humour into a gripping historical tale, an exhilarating thriller, a keen murder mystery, and ultimately, with the sheer scope and quality of her storytelling, one of the best books of the year.