Running West

Running West

by James Houston
     
 

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Running West, James Houston’s fifth novel, is an epic tale of harrowing adventure in the North of the early 1700s, which has at its heart one of the most unusual and compelling love stories ever told.

Based on historical fact and real people, the story has its beginnings in the Highlands of Scotland and the treacherous world of Queen Anne’s…  See more details below

Overview

Running West, James Houston’s fifth novel, is an epic tale of harrowing adventure in the North of the early 1700s, which has at its heart one of the most unusual and compelling love stories ever told.

Based on historical fact and real people, the story has its beginnings in the Highlands of Scotland and the treacherous world of Queen Anne’s London, then moves across the Atlantic to the desolate west coast of Hudson Bay. There, William Stewart, a Scottish clerk banished from his homeland, meets the extraordinary Thanadelthur – a young Indian woman of the Dene Nation, who had been taken into the Hudson’s Bay Company’s York Factory after her family was massacred.

When the Company’s Governor, James Knight, interested in expanding the fur trade, sees the elegant “yellow” knife that had belonged to Thana’s mother, he sends the resourceful William and the indomitable Thana to find their way back to her homeland to bring back fur and valuable metals.

Thus begins a heroic trek into uncharted wilderness, on which the courage and growing love between William and Thana is tested as they, accompanied by a dwindling band of Cree, endure deprivation, violence, and near starvation.

Told in a rollicking historic style resonant of the period, Running West is peopled by memorable characters, and is enriched by James Houston’s wide knowledge of the North – its landscape, its native peoples and lore. This is gripping adventure in which James Houston’s narrative skills and meticulous research blend potently. Running West is a book to treasure.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Youthful love between a Scottish mapmaker and the resourceful Chipewyastet Indian woman who guides him through Canada's uncharted terrain west of the Hudson Bay drives this historical adventure. Houston ( The White Dawn ) draws on actual letters and journals of the Hudson's Bay Company to narrate a star-crossed romance in the alternating voices of the two lovers, William Stewart, banished from the Scottish Highlands after a duel, and the maiden Thanadelthur, held captive in a British fort after her family was massacred. Their relationship, while tender and touching, seems more like a charming fantasy than the tragic tale the author obviously intends it to be. Set in the period 1714-1717, this saga vividly evokes the clash of British, French and Indian forces, the virgin beauty and peril of a remote wilderness, the rigors of a killing winter, the colonizers' lust for furs and precious metals. A map and precise line drawings add period flavor. (Apr.)
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
YA-- William Stewart, a Scottish clerk banished from his homeland because of a disagreement with the local laird and relieved of his worldly goods by thieves in London, is indentured to the Hudson Bay Company to pay his debts. It is in the Canadian North that William, now clerk to the company governor, meets Thanadelthur, a Dene Indian woman. Hudson Bay Company Governor James Knight sends Thanadelthur and William back to her homeland in the uncharted wilderness to collect fur and to find ``yellow metal,'' and thus begins an adventure and a poignant love story. The harsh reality of living and surviving in the beautiful, frozen North country is told in alternating chapters by William and Thanadelthur, both finely drawn characters. Folklore and customs of the native peoples of the Canadian North are interwoven into the story. --Carol P. Clark, R. E. Lee High School, Springfield, VA

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781575660448
Publisher:
Kensington
Publication date:
06/01/1996
Product dimensions:
5.51(w) x 8.18(h) x 1.03(d)

Meet the Author

James Houston, a Canadian author-artist, served with the Toronto Scottish Regiment in World War II, 1940-45, then lived among the Inuit of the Canadian Arctic for twelve years as a Northern Service Officer, and the first Administrator of west Baffin Island, a territory of 65,000 square miles. Widely acknowledged as the prime force in the development of Inuit art, he is past chairman of both the American Indian Arts Centre and the Association on American Indian and Eskimo Cultural Foundation Award, the 1979 Inuit Kuavati Award of Merit, and the 1997 Royal Geographic Society’s Massey Medal, and is an officer of the Order of Canada.

Among his writings, The White Dawn has been published in thirty-one editions worldwide. That novel and Ghost Fox, Spirit Wrestler, and Eagle Song have been selections of major book clubs. Running West won the Canadian Authors Association Book of the Year Award, while his novel, The Ice Master, also appeared in Spanish translation. Author and illustrator of seventeen children’s books, he is the only person to have won the Canadian Library Association Book of the Year Award three times. His most recent children’s book is Fire and Ice, about creating glass sculpture. He has also written screenplays for feature films, has created numerous documentaries and continues to lecture widely.

His drawings, paintings, and sculptures are internationally represented in many museums including the St. Petersburg Museum in Florida and private collections including that of the King of Saudi Arabia. He is Master Designer for Steuben Glass, with one hundred and ten pieces to his credit. He created theseventy-foot-high central sculpture in the Glenbow-Alberta Art Museum. In 1999 Canada’s National Museum of Civilization devoted its show “Iqqaipaa” to the art of the Arctic in James Houston’s time, and he played a central role in organizing the exhibition.

He and his wife Alice divided their time between a colonial privateer’s house in New England and a writing retreat on the bank of a salmon river on the Queen Charlotte Islands in British Columbia, where he has written a large part of his trilogy of memoirs, Confessions of an Igloo Dweller, Zigzag, and Hideaway.

James Houston passed away in 2005 at the age of 83.

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