Review: The Last Crossing — Guy Vanderhaeghe

Read: 97
To Go: 3

Book List:
91. The Sailor on the Seas of Fate — Michael Moorcock
92. The Weird of the White Wolf — Michael Moorcock
93. The Vanishing Tower — Michael Moorcock
94. The Bane of the Black Sword — Michael Moorcock
95. Stormbringer — Michael Moorcock
96. Nine Dragons — Michael Connelly
97. The Last Crossing — Guy Vanderhaeghe

0771087845

Charles and Addington Gaunt must find their brother Simon, who has gone missing in the wilds of the American West. Charles, a disillusioned artist, and Addington, a disgraced military captain, sail rom England and enlist the services of a guide to lead them on their journey across a difficult and unknown landscape. This is the enigmatic Jerry Potts, half Blackfoot, half Scottish, who has suffered his own painful past. Later their party grows to include a Civil War veteran searching for salvation, a wife and beautiful woman determined to avenge her sister’s brutal murder, a sycophantic journalist, and a God-fearing saloon keeper. This unlikely posse becomes entangled in an unfolding drama that forces each person to come to terms with his, and her, own demons.

Remember last year when I read 11/22/63 by Stephen King near the end of December and the book almost threw the challenge for me, because the book was so long? Well, today I started into Guy Vanderhaeghe’s The Last Crossing, and immediately started thinking I was going to actually lose the challenge in its last days, because the book was so big. Granted, not as big as 11/22/63, but The Last Crossing was a pretty hefty read.

Funny enough, I actually wanted to read Vanderhaeghe’s newer books, The Englishman’s Boy and A Good Man, but I found The Last Crossing in the BMV, and it sounded interesting, so I picked it up. (Even though Canada in the late 1800s is not exactly my favourite historical period.)

The Last Crossing was an odd combination of the literary equivalent of an old western movie, and the classic tale of imperialism and cultural assimilation that characterizes Canadian and American history. Rich in historical details, the story contained an assortment of original, nuanced characters, and an unconventional but beautiful love story with a heartbreaking twist.

Next book: one of the two that I mentioned in the last post. For real, this time.

– Kelsey

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