Part epic adventure, part romance, and part true-crime thriller, Coppermine is a dramatic, compelling, character-driven story set in 1917 in the extremes of Canada's far north and the boom town of Edmonton.
The story begins when two missionaries disappear in the remote Arctic region known as the Coppermine. North West Mounted Police officer Jack Creed and Angituk, a young Copper Inuit interpreter, are sent on a year-long odyssey to investigate the fate of the lost priests. On the shores of the Arctic Ocean near the mouth of the Coppermine River, they discover their dismembered remains. Two Inuit hunters are tracked and apprehended, and the four begin an arduous journey to Edmonton, to bring the accused to justice.
Instructing the jury to "think like an Eskimo," the defence counsel sets out to prove the Inuit acted in self-defence. They hear how the hunters believed the priests were possessed by demons about to kill them, and how, acting on this belief, they killed the men and ate their livers. The jury finds them not guilty. The hunters become celebrities, a parade is held for them, they visit a movie theatre and an amusement park, and become guests of honour at socialite dinners. They are given new suits, fine cigars, and champagne. But Rome is outraged that the murderers of its martyred priests will go free. As secrets of Jack Creed's past in the trenches of Europe are revealed, Jack tries to save his two friends, and himself.
Keith Ross Leckie has worked in the film and television business as a dramatic scriptwriter for more than 30 years. His credits include multiple CBC miniseries including Everest!, Shattered City, Milgaard, The Arrow, and Lost in the Barrens. He lives in Toronto with his wife and children. Coppermine is his second novel.
"Keith Ross Leckie's Coppermine is like the river itself—magnificent, fast, turbulent, filled with twists and turns that not even the most practiced eye could foretell." - Roy Macgregor
"The trial of two Copper Inuit is the backdrop for this swashbuckling tale of adventure, intrigue and plain old romance that beings with a year-long journey from Edmonton to the shores of the Arctic and back again, and ends in the courtrooms, hotels and high society parlours of Edwardian Alberta... The web of fact and fiction is almost seamless and offers a gripping read." - Marian Botsford Fraser
"Keith Ross Leckie's Coppermine is a novel of expected danger, unexpected love, and justice that is both. Set in the most desolate of landscapes, it is compelling because at its core are a fascination with the North, and true and marvellous events a hundred years old. It is absorbing because it moves with force, but at the astute pace of the gifted story-teller." - Ernest Hillen