Set in eighteenth-century Churchill, this compelling newnovel takes the reader deep into unexplored territory. Appearingonly fleetingly in the historical record of the Hudsonâ€™sBay Company are the Native women who lived at the companyâ€™sPrince of Wales Fort and served as â€œcountry wivesâ€ to theEuropean tradersâ€”and whose survival was bound, for betteror worse, to the fortunes of those men.
Across more than two centuries, the mixed-blood womanMary Norton, daughter of Governor Moses and personal favouriteof the explorer Samuel Hearne, speaks to us from herdreams. As the story of her liaison with Hearne unfolds, wemove toward its tragic consequences. When their small societyis torn apart by a French attack on the fort, Mary and the otherwomen find themselves and their children abandoned by theirBritish masters. Nowâ€”in one of historyâ€™s cruel ironiesâ€”theymust fend for themselves in the harsh country from which theirown ancestors sprang.
Unflinching, powerful and rich in moral ambiguity, thishaunting novel explores a tragic meeting of cultures that stillreverberates in the present day.