Longlisted for the 2011 Scotiabank Giller Prize
Set in the eighteenth century, in what is now Manitoba, this unflinching and powerful novel takes the reader deep into unexplored territory.
Molly Norton, mixed-blood daughter of Governor Moses Norton, is ill-prepared for the ordeal fate has in store. Dressed in English clothes unsuited to the harsh conditions at the Prince of Wales Fort and forbidden to practice the traditional skills of her mother’s people, Molly bears witness to her father’s increasingly tyrannical rule. Governor Norton is suspicious of every man, but particularly resentful of Matonabbee, the esteemed hunter and Dene captain, whom he once considered his brother. But it is the explorer Samuel Hearne who receives the brunt of Norton’s temper when, returning from his expedition, he sets his sights on Molly.
In the days that follow, larger events unfold and every man, woman and child at the fort is confronted by forces greater than themselves. Allegiances are both broken and tragically upheld as one of history’s cruel ironies takes shape in the harsh ancestral landscape from which Molly descends.