Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Coppermine by Keith Ross Leckie

In 1917 travel and communication are slow in Canada’s north.  Winters are spent huddled in total darkness in meagre shacks or tents, letters are relayed to family and friends with passing trappers and hunters.  Caches of food, clothing and weapons at the foot of the inukshuk are for anyone in need.  Survival relies on asking for and accepting the help of others. 

In this inhospitable landscape two Oblate priests haven’t been heard of for many months and Royal North West Mounted Police Officer Jack Creed is sent north to investigate.  He finds their bodies at Bloody Falls and recognizes that they have been murdered.  Creed, with the help of his Coppertuk interpreter, Angituk, finds the perpetrators and over the course of a year brings them 2000 miles back to Edmonton and justice.

Based on the first trial of an Inuit in Canada and with the backdrop of the First World War, the novel grapples with the questions of justice, what it is to be civilized, and how we remain true to our beliefs?

Submitted by Karole-Anne