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Canadian Sunrise: The Voyages of Radisson and Groseilliers

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  • Posted June 4, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Karen Pirnot for Readers' Favorite What a marvelous

    Reviewed by Karen Pirnot for Readers' Favorite

    What a marvelous work of historical fiction! In "Canadian Sunrise", Robert List has given the reader an up-close and personal view of the Canadian wilderness during the last half of the seventeenth century. French Canadian Pierre-Espirit Radisson and his sister's husband Medard, Sieur Des Grosseilliers, embark on a journey which takes them from Three Rivers in New France to the wilderness where they develop friendly relationships with the native "savages" who have populated the region for centuries. The pair has high hopes of selling their fur trades and becoming men of leisure, but their hopes are dashed when the French government confiscates their cache. They then turn to the English king for assistance. For the next few years, their loyalties go back and forth according to fortune.

    The description of the practices of the Native populations of New France are astounding. The reader feels both respect and abhorrence of brutality as young Pierre attempts to make his way to the sort of person he will eventually become. His powers of observation are keen and his willingness to learn, exceptional. And, learn he does. He feels perfectly comfortable as an adopted member of the Mohawk tribe and equally comfortable as a French Canadian attempting to scour the wilderness for whatever might be of value in a fledgling, vast territory. One of the most poignant scenes for me is the one where the two men come across a tribe of starving natives who are dying from scurvy. Pierre observes that those who taught him to live and survive in the wilderness are now helpless to save themselves. I applaud the research that went into the making of the book. History buffs, this one is for you!

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