Sept 6, 2014
It’s the summer of 1867, and the formalities and festivities are underway as the new nation of Canada is born. Connor O’Dea, a young parliamentary assistant to statesman Thomas Darcy McGee, has a front-row seat during Confederation.
The creation of the Dominion of Canada is a bold political experiment, one that has its critics. Among them is a group of Irish extremists, the Fenians, which has launched a series of cross-border raids from the United States, seeking to destabilize the fledgling country.
Prime Minister John A. Macdonald ignores reports of the latest plot being mounted by the rebels, although readers have the inside track on the ominous plan. And O’Dea, busy finding romance and helping McGee on the campaign trail, is unaware of the danger — or of the shadowy figure following the Irish-Canadian politician’s every move.
Henderson, a Toronto TV documentary producer, knows his Canadian history. He’s not only a former parliamentary reporter but a senior producer on the CBC series Canada: A People’s History. If anyone could build an atmospheric crime out of Confederation, it would be him.
The book’s real-life characters — the politicians and their wives — are the most fascinating cast members. The fresh-faced O’Dea is compelling as well, although he’s a work of fiction.
Of course, readers who know a bit of Canadian history will see right away where this book is headed. But the story is about much more than an assassination scheme.
Readers will enjoy learning about Canada’s early days as they walk the lumber town’s working-class streets, observe the goings-on in the halls of power and encounter the many divides — religious and cultural — that made the young country so precarious.
Sept 6, 2014