SUMMARY ✓ River Thieves


River Thieves

REVIEW River Thieves

River Thieves is a beautifully written and compelling novel that breathes life into the pivotal events which shaped relations between the Beothuk Indians of Newfoundland and European settlers Following a series of expedi Michael Crummey draws a very rich portrayal of a little known struggle in history between the early settlers in newfoundland and the Beothuk Indians who were driven to extinction by being cut off from their resources and way of life The characters are portrays as multilayered flawed individuals faced with difficult choices to make in order to survive in a harsh landscape The story moves back and forth in time to reveal and details on a pivotal event which has a profound effect on all involved both directly and indirectly in it Michael Crummey is truly a Canadian gem

SUMMARY ☆ E-book, or Kindle E-pub ¹ Michael Crummey

Tions made under the order of the British Crown the reader witnesses the tragic fallout from these missions as the Beothuk vanish and the web of secrets guarded by the settlers slowly begin to unravel Told in elegant sen Crummy's first novel is set in Newfoundland in 1810 when Captain David Buchan arrives with orders from the English king to make contact with Beothuk also known as the Red Indians because of the ochre they smear on their skins The local settlers are less than enthusiastic; the Beothuk are reclusive they claim moving about with the seasons and the evidence of their presence is usually in the form of stolen goods or killings Nevertheless John Peyton agrees to recruit a few of his fellow trappers and take the marines north Peyton's father known as John Senior warns that the journey will be futile and perhaps even tragic It ends when two marines are brutally slaughtered But Buchan returns a few years later with orders not only to establish relations with the Beothuk but to find out the truth behind an incident that left two Indian men dead on an icy lake The truth unravels slowly thwarted by lies rivalries secrets and loyalties Crummy's tale set against the unforgiving winter landscape is a study of human survival its violence passion and revenge At the heart of it all are the conflicts and loyalties within the Peyton household among the father his son and and Cassie an independent woman brought home years earlier by John Senior as a teacher a housekeeper and possibly a lover The main characters are complex forced by circumstances to trust one another despite their basic distrust Buchan's arrival sets the stage for secrets of the past to start unravelingCrummy brings this eerie melancholy world to life particularly through his brilliant descriptions of the hostile Newfoundland landscape His cast of characters in addition to those mentioned above are intriguing and original There's Joseph Reilly branded and expatriated as a boy for picking pockets and his Christian Mikmuk wife Annie Boss the local healer and midwife Richmond and Taylor rough trappers who have known one another since childhood Mary a young Beothuk woman kidnapped by John Peyton in an act of government sanctioned reparation for stolen goods Governor Hamilton the ineffective overseer of the colony And many lesser but still significant characters some long dead yet still wielding influence over the settlersThis is the second novel by Michael Crummy that I have read and enjoyed and I look forward to catching up with the rest The Sharpshooter's Secret Son presence is usually in the form of stolen goods or killings Nevertheless John Peyton agrees to recruit a few of his fellow trappers and take the marines north Peyton's father known as John Senior warns that the journey will be futile and Criminal Intent perhaps even tragic It ends when two marines are brutally slaughtered But Buchan returns a few years later with orders not only to establish relations with the Beothuk but to find out the truth behind an incident that left two Indian men dead on an icy lake The truth unravels slowly thwarted by lies rivalries secrets and loyalties Crummy's tale set against the unforgiving winter landscape is a study of human survival its violence The Daddy List passion and revenge At the heart of it all are the conflicts and loyalties within the Peyton household among the father his son and and Cassie an independent woman brought home years earlier by John Senior as a teacher a housekeeper and The Cowboy Collection: Caitlyn's Prize / Madison's Children / A Cowboy's Plan / This Cowboy's Son / The Horseman's Secret / The Brother Returns possibly a lover The main characters are complex forced by circumstances to trust one another despite their basic distrust Buchan's arrival sets the stage for secrets of the Shattered Lullaby past to start unravelingCrummy brings this eerie melancholy world to life A Dad At Last particularly through his brilliant descriptions of the hostile Newfoundland landscape His cast of characters in addition to those mentioned above are intriguing and original There's Joseph Reilly branded and expatriated as a boy for The Consummate Cowboy picking Crave pockets and his Christian Mikmuk wife Annie Boss the local healer and midwife Richmond and Taylor rough trappers who have known one another since childhood Mary a young Beothuk woman kidnapped by John Peyton in an act of government sanctioned reparation for stolen goods Governor Hamilton the ineffective overseer of the colony And many lesser but still significant characters some long dead yet still wielding influence over the settlersThis is the second novel by Michael Crummy that I have read and enjoyed and I look forward to catching up with the rest

Michael Crummey ¹ 9 SUMMARY

Sual prose this is an enthralling historical novel of great passion and suspense driven by the extraordinary cast of characters And with it Michael Crummey establishes himself as one of Canada's most exciting new talents I reread this novel for a presentation I have volunteered to do at the library Honestly I rarely reread books any since I have so many new ones I want to get through but I am very glad I picked up River Thieves again It is very goodI love Crummey's narrative techniue in this book He outlines the key event of the plot the capture of a Beothuk woman at the very beginning and then he returns to this moment many times as the story develops Each time we learn details It is as if Crummey has drawn a colouring book which he fills in vividly during the course of his work Crummey seamlessly moves back and forth through history as well giving us the main characters' backstories to help us know them better The characters are very richly drawn as a resultIn this his first novel Crummey explores the history and the culture of his native province Newfoundland something he does again in his later books The Wreckage and Galore His common thematic foci of unreuited love and the struggle against nature are introduced here


10 thoughts on “River Thieves

  1. says:

    Michael Crummey draws a very rich portrayal of a little known struggle in history between the early settlers in newfoundland and the Beothuk Indians who were driven to extinction by being cut off from their resources and way of life The characters are portrays as multilayered flawed individuals faced with difficult choices to make in order to survive in a harsh landscape The story moves back and forth in time to reveal and details on a pivotal event which has a profound effect on all involved both directly and indirectly in it Michael Crummey is truly a Canadian gem


  2. says:

    In the early 1800s the territory that will become Newfoundland is still populated by Beothuk Micmac and various Europeans engaged in hunting trapping and fishing The British governor hopes to establish cordial relations with the Beothuk also called Red Indians for the red ochre they used to paint their bodies Responding to his call to bring back a Beothuk who will learn English and serve as an intermediary John Peyton and a band of men find a camp and capture a Beothuk woman setting in motion a series of tragic encounters between the Indians and the EuropeansJohn Peyton joins his father John Senior on one of his regular trips to Newfoundland from England when he is only a boy of fourteen He never returns to England and learns instead the life of a trapper and fisherman working his father’s extensive holdings in the new land He works with trappers who have participated in Indian wars and taken opportunities for wanton cruelty who have married Indians and moved to the interior who have trapped alone among both tribes for decades or who have lived in the growing port of St John’s surviving fires and famine They live hard lives of deprivation violence and physically exhausting work with little rewardCassie Jura leaves St John’s to tend house for John Senior and tutor young John Peyton A woman who knows the outdoors as well as any man Cassie is also erudite and stoic With her trunk of books she teaches the young boy about Shakespeare and the larger world but tells nothing of herself She knows little about John Senior except that he lets her live her life while he traps and hunts When John Peyton brings home a Beothuk woman named Mary it becomes Cassie’s job to teach her EnglishThis is a stunning tale of life in the 1800s in an unforgiving land among hardened settlers The characters are superbly drawn The women are especially well developed—Cassie Annie Boss and Mary among others I couldn’t get enough of Annie Boss a Micmac woman married to Reilly an Irish trapper The prejudices and fears and hatred cut across every nationality religion race occupation challenging the men and women at every step The book is a joy to read Crummy holds the reader with every sentence urging the reader to take time with each thought each turn of phrase or incident Highly recommended


  3. says:

    In the eyes of the British Crown at the time the island of Newfoundland wasn't considered a proper colony but a sort of floating fishing station and training ground for naval recruits a country that existed only during the summer months Most of the planters and fishermen returned to England for the winter as did the governor himself River Thieves is a fictional imagining of a real historic time that author Michael Crummey populated with real people those on the side whose stories have survived anyway and it reads like a history lesson an adventure tale and a finely wrought piece of ironic literature no matter how well intentioned the players involved the reader can see the noose tightening and the inevitability of a tragic outcome I was fighting against myself reading this book wanting to keep reading to see what would happen and desperately wanting to put this book down and turn my mind to something else In the early 1800s with Newfoundland sparsely populated outside of St John's and the indigenous Beothuk driven into the inhospitable interior of the island Governor Duckworth and his representative British naval officer James Buchan were determined to establish a friendly relationship with the Red Indians so named for the ochre that they rubbed onto their bodies and belongings Buchan travelled to the northeast shore where there resided colonists who had had sightings of the Beothuk and he encouraged several of these men to join his expedition to make contact Buchan's ultimate goal was to convince one of the Natives to return with him learn English and become an interpreter between the two peoples; even if convincing meant kidnapping The expedition goes wrong and Governor Duckworth calls an end to the effortsA decade later after skirmishes between the Beothuk and the settlers Buchan returns under the orders of a new governor and this time he learns of the hidden histories of attacks and reprisals crimes and outrages prejudices and outright murder As Buchan once again leads a group into the frozen wilds of the interior it's unclear whether or not there are any Beothuk left to contact Humanising this grand sweep of events River Thieves is fleshed out with a fascinating array of characters each with their own private histories expertly unveiled As the reader learns of each character's hidden motivations it becomes easier to spot the villains but no easier to prevent the Beothuk's fate We have taken the tragedy of an entire race of people Mr Peyton and cheapened it with our own sordid little melodrama I was fascinated by this concept I have no idea if Duckworth and Buchan's intentions were really this altruistic find a way to communicate with the Beothuk even if it means taking and educating one of them against his will but without a method of communicating the cycle of misunderstandings theft reprisal ambushes and recompense would never end and ultimately it didn't matter who started the cycle it was inevitable who would come out on top But were the British overlords really compassionate towards the Beothuk than they were everywhere else on the continent? As Crummey outlines his research at the end I'll have to take his word for it unless I decide to go to original sources myself Crummey expertly captured the minutia of the era in both the domestic and political spheres with an especial focus on the work of the men; the fishing trapping hunting and dressing of meat and furs He also has a real talent for writing women characters and the lives and labours of both Cassie and Annie Boss were totally believable The history of this time was very interesting with the British government's stance on Newfoundland being influenced by the recent Revolutionary War in America the shifting relationship with the French during and after the Napoleonic wars and the hierarchy of prejudices among the colonists themselves the British brought with them their firm class system with which to judge each other but they all looked down their noses at Irish Catholics and Natives while the Mi'kma who settled on Newfoundland with the French felt superior to the Beothuk and as for Buchan every time he was confronted with English atrocities he was pleased to point out that he was Scottish Capturing a long gone time and place with a prose style that is as spare and lovely as Newfoundland itself Crummey's first novel is an engaging and worthwhile read The sun had fallen below the ceiling of grey cloud illuminating the enormous stretch of ice and the snow on the branches of spruce terraced on the valley's hills burned gold all around them It was like walking into a cathedral lit with candles and the group stood there exhausted and breathing heavily leaning on walking sticks and bent forward to balance the weight of their packs all with the worn look of awe of a group of pilgrims


  4. says:

    Fabulous story about a vanishing or already vanished breed? of Indians in Newfoundland The characters are strong and memorable the terrain rough and unforgiving a great place to situate a story


  5. says:

    Review coming soon


  6. says:

    Crummy's first novel is set in Newfoundland in 1810 when Captain David Buchan arrives with orders from the English king to make contact with Beothuk also known as the Red Indians because of the ochre they smear on their skins The local settlers are less than enthusiastic; the Beothuk are reclusive they claim moving about with the seasons and the evidence of their presence is usually in the form of stolen goods or killings Nevertheless John Peyton agrees to recruit a few of his fellow trappers and take the marines north Peyton's father known as John Senior warns that the journey will be futile and perhaps even tragic It ends when two marines are brutally slaughtered But Buchan returns a few years later with orders not only to establish relations with the Beothuk but to find out the truth behind an incident that left two Indian men dead on an icy lake The truth unravels slowly thwarted by lies rivalries secrets and loyalties Crummy's tale set against the unforgiving winter landscape is a study of human survival its violence passion and revenge At the heart of it all are the conflicts and loyalties within the Peyton household among the father his son and and Cassie an independent woman brought home years earlier by John Senior as a teacher a housekeeper and possibly a lover The main characters are complex forced by circumstances to trust one another despite their basic distrust Buchan's arrival sets the stage for secrets of the past to start unravelingCrummy brings this eerie melancholy world to life particularly through his brilliant descriptions of the hostile Newfoundland landscape His cast of characters in addition to those mentioned above are intriguing and original There's Joseph Reilly branded and expatriated as a boy for picking pockets and his Christian Mikmuk wife Annie Boss the local healer and midwife Richmond and Taylor rough trappers who have known one another since childhood Mary a young Beothuk woman kidnapped by John Peyton in an act of government sanctioned reparation for stolen goods Governor Hamilton the ineffective overseer of the colony And many lesser but still significant characters some long dead yet still wielding influence over the settlersThis is the second novel by Michael Crummy that I have read and enjoyed and I look forward to catching up with the rest


  7. says:

    Michael Crummey hails from Nova Scotia where the book is set so its no wonder he can describe in such intimate detail the little rivers and creeks necks and beaches hills and valleys I found myself totally immersed in the world that was St John in the early 1800s the lives of the trappers and the interference of the English Crummey brought the time period to life in ways I could never get from a history book He also takes a very daring approach to historical fiction in his depictin of the Red Indians and the MicMacs given that our current political correctness sometimes causes us to whitewash the way that Native Americans were thought of and treated This is a nice contrast to Louise Erdrich's books which are from the viewpoint of the native Crummey's book is from the viewpoint of the trapper There are also graphic descriptions of trapping practices including setting traps coming upon a frightened animal who has tried to chew its way out of a leg trap slaughter and skinning These sections of the book are not for the sueamish If you have any interest in early pre nation settlement of Canada you will love this book as much as I do


  8. says:

    I LOVED Michael Crummy's second novel The Wreckage I had River Thieves for months before starting it for fear of being disappointed I wasn't ready until Galore was published As it turns out I was disappointed which is not to say River Thieves is not a very good book It's just very different from The Wreckage It is Michael Crummy's first novel What disappointed me was that I had to really work to get into the book unlike the Wreckage which had me hooked right from the beginning That said it is a very interesting novel which takes place in the early 1800's in Newfoundland Based on actual events it concerns interactions between native indians British settlers and Naval officials It's set on the northeast coast where the settlers fish in summer and trap in winter The Navy is hoping to establish friendly relations between the two groups both of whom depend on the same resources for their survival Michael Crummy is a Newfoundlander and the dialogue between characters is rich in collouialisms It is an interesting window into a different time and place


  9. says:

    I reread this novel for a presentation I have volunteered to do at the library Honestly I rarely reread books any since I have so many new ones I want to get through but I am very glad I picked up River Thieves again It is very goodI love Crummey's narrative techniue in this book He outlines the key event of the plot the capture of a Beothuk woman at the very beginning and then he returns to this moment many times as the story develops Each time we learn details It is as if Crummey has drawn a colouring book which he fills in vividly during the course of his work Crummey seamlessly moves back and forth through history as well giving us the main characters' backstories to help us know them better The characters are very richly drawn as a resultIn this his first novel Crummey explores the history and the culture of his native province Newfoundland something he does again in his later books The Wreckage and Galore His common thematic foci of unreuited love and the struggle against nature are introduced here


  10. says:

    I loved how Crummey told this story moving around in time to weave a plot with surprises In the process several characters became nuanced and my assumptions disproved He also told the story with continual reminders to the senses of this Newfoundland world the cold the ice the mud the flickering candles at night the annoyance of flies in the summer the smell of the chamber pot I feel very lucky to have read this book Shortly after finishing his newer book Galore I realized I had purchased this book from the library's discarded book sale And now it on my favorites shelf a story I will undoubtedly have in my mind when I think of Newfoundland with Cassie a character I didn't uite understand but certainly cared about


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