Reviews

Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

The publisher was excited about this British debut even before it was proclaimed the U.K. Costa Book of the Year (the former Whitbread Book Award), and the excitement was not misplaced. Daringly, the author sets her work in Canada's frigid northern territory in the 19th century. As winter closes in on tiny Dove River, Mrs. Ross stumbles into the cabin of mysterious neighbor Laurent Jammet and finds him murdered. Distressingly, her son Francis, something of an outsider himself, disappears at the same time. Francis is conveniently suspected of the deed, and the Company (which runs just about everything in this neck of the woods) sends Donald Moody to investigate. New to Canada, Donald struggles to find his way among the hardened settlers. Then another man, clearly native, is spotted in Jammet's cabin, arrested and beaten, and mysteriously released. In the ensuing mayhem, no one seems to have considered Mrs. Ross's devotion and resilience-she's gone to find her son. Plot summary cannot do justice to this complex and engrossing tale of human passion and folly, highlighted by the rigors of a wilderness being systematically despoiled. The characters are distinctive, their portraits startling and incisive, and the writing is fluid and beautifully detailed. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 3/15/07.]-Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Just proclaimed winner of this year's Costa Book of the Year award, once the Whitbread Prize, this debut tracks a teenager's disappearance in 19th-century Canada's snowy north after murder has been committed in his -settlement. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publishers Weekly
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The frigid isolation of European immigrants living on the 19th-century Canadian frontier is the setting for British author Penney's haunting debut. Seventeen-year-old Francis Ross disappears the same day his mother discovers the scalped body of his friend, fur trader Laurent Jammet, in a neighboring cabin. The murder brings newcomers to the small settlement, from inexperienced Hudson Bay Company representative Donald Moody to elderly eccentric Thomas Sturrock, who arrives searching for a mysterious archeological fragment once in Jammet's possession. Other than Francis, no real suspects emerge until half-Indian trapper William Parker is caught searching the dead man's house. Parker escapes and joins with Francis's mother to track Francis north, a journey that produces a deep if unlikely bond between them. Only when the pair reaches a distant Scandinavian settlement do both characters and reader begin to understand Francis, who arrived there days before them. Penney's absorbing, quietly convincing narrative illuminates the characters, each a kind of outcast, through whose complex viewpoints this dense, many-layered story is told. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved