The Son of the Taiga
Volume 1 : The Dream Catcher
A great adventure novel by the author of The White Odyssey.
In the snowy landscape of the great Canadian North, at the start of the XIXth century, a young Indian who has been banished from his village sets off without looking back, with his nine dogs, his only friends. Ohio is fifteen years old and one of the most talented hunters in his clan, the Nahannis, the Indians who are protected by the Great Spirit of the Caribou.
He is chasing a wild dream: a long time ago, his mother guided some strange white men though the icy mountain. Ohio wants to find their leader, Cooper, his father.
It is a proud and courageous young man, sure of his mettle, who leads an assault on the terrifying Rocky Mountains. But nature does not like to be taken by assault, she will not suffer to be dominated, and Ohio must learn to listen to her, understand and merge with her. Trial follows trial, he must survive, endure the cold, face the wolves that are half-crazed with hunger. Luckily he is not alone: he is watched over by his dogs, and above all by Torok, the astonishing leader of the pack.
At the end of his crossing, Ohio discovers a ravaged world: at the other side of the Rockies, the white man has set up camp. Where the Indians had arrows, snares and tepees, the white man uses fire-spitting weapons, steel traps and tents, but also brandy and whisky.
Fascinated by these inventions, the Indians let themselves be played off one against the other and engage in bloody battles to take possession of the hunting lands. Ohio witnesses, powerless, this debasement of his brothers who have lost all their bearings in life. At the heart of this turmoil, however, he meets Mayoké, a young Indian girl with whom he falls madly in love.
Through this long quest in the outstandingly beautiful lands of the far North, Ohio learns humility in the face of superiority, and the kind of fear which magnifies courage. A true loner, used to simple pleasures, he ends up discovering love. He matures, and each trial brings him nearer to his destiny, the encounter with the world of the white man, in which is wrapped up the future or the demise of his people.
Drawing richly from his many years of adventure, Nicolas Vanier, whose writing is as fiery as it is evocative, has written a great coming of age novel redolent of the books of Jack London.