A people’s struggle for rights to their land and identity, a woman’s fight for ownership of her body and soul.
In a year when Canada 150 celebrates our iconic heroes, this historical novel about the Métis, from an Indigenous author, is at the very heart of Canadian identity. After learning that her great-great-grandfather was the president of Louis Riel’s provisional government in Batoche, and her great-great-uncle was Gabriel Dumont’s war lieutenant, Maia Caron was compelled to resurrect the ghosts of her ancestors, to tell the story of the North-West Resistance, the unspoken betrayals and buried secrets of the past.
When Louis Riel arrives in Batoche, Saskatchewan, in the summer of 1884, he discovers that the rebellious Métisse Josette Lavoie is a granddaughter of the famous chief Big Bear, whom he needs as an ally. But Josette resists becoming his disciple when she learns that Riel considers the Métis a lost tribe of Israel and himself the prophet who will lead them to the Promised Land. As General Middleton’s army marches to put down the “savage half-breeds,” both Josette and Gabriel Dumont draw ever closer to one another in their struggle to manage Riel, who is determined that he will meet Middleton only in Batoche, the City of God.
The historical events unfold from inside the beautiful mind of Louis Riel, his heroic war chief Gabriel Dumont, a subversive Catholic priest, a spy for John A. Macdonald, and three women with secrets: Madeleine Dumont, Marguerite Riel, and Josette Lavoie, whose journey to redemption emerges out of devastating acts of deception as the troops converge on Batoche to destroy the Métis Nation.
Maia Caron is Red River Métis. Her great-great-grandparents were one of the founding families of Batoche, and Jean Caron Sr. and his sons were among the last twenty Métis facing Middleton’s troops when they captured Batoche. Their house was burned to the ground during the battle and rebuilt in 1890. It is now a museum exhibit on the historic site. Maia lives in Toronto.
Ronsdale Press, founded in 1988, is a literary publishing house based in Vancouver, dedicated to publishing books that give Canadians new insights into themselves and their country.