Monday, March 19, 2007

The Broken Blade

by William Durbin

The setting is Montréal in 1800. Pierre La Page is a thirteen-year-old schoolboy, who's doing rather well. His father is a voyageur, one of the men who paddle cargo canoes from Montréal to Grand Portage, all the way on the northwest shore of Lake Superior. Well, Dad has an accident that will keep him from shipping out on the next cargo run. Motivated in part by guilt, Pierre skips class, heads down to the North West Company office and signs on as a voyageur to make the money that his father cannot. What follows is a coming-of-age tale as Pierre tries to follow in his father's footsteps. As adventures go, this one is relatively tame. In fact, I would have a hard time pinpointing what made me glad I checked this out. Maybe I just connected with Pierre, subconsciously recalling the times when I was a rookie starting a new job. Or maybe Mr. Durbin just did a good job of drawing me into the tale, so that I felt I was paddling along with the crew. Whatever it was, it worked.
LibraryThing link


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