Far North

While on a sightseeing excursion to Virginia Falls, 16-year-old school roommates Gabe and Raymond suffer the loss of their floatplane and pilot. Along with fellow survivor Johnny Raven, the trio face winter in the treacherous Northwest Territory of Canada.

Lucky for these boys Johnny Raven is a Dene elder that knows the area and has the skills to live off the land. Unlucky for them he doesn’t speak English and he’s just gotten out of the hospital. Seems though getting stranded in the middle of this harsh land is just what the doctor ordered – Johnny thrives, and in spite of the language barrier, he gives the boys a crash course in Dene wilderness survival. This gripping book is perfect for boys – not only does it show the power of friendship, it’s packed with action, amazing facts on animal behavior and Dene culture, and vivid scenic descriptions.

“The waxing moon rode high in the sky, lighting our way for hours after twilight was gone. It was so bright, reflecting off the snow, I could have read a book by it. The mountain ranges stood out with amazing clarity as they shone in the moonlight, their countless jagged peaks rising from an all-white world that floated high above the dark forests.”

I enjoyed the book and plan to use it for our boy’s book club. Things to be aware of: two characters die, animals are hunted and killed, and it is mentioned Raymond’s brother committed suicide. Also, considering the Dene worldview is different from a Christian’s, this would be a good topic for discussion.

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