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Tony German.
Toronto, ON: McClelland and Stewart, 1985.
272pp., paper, $3.95.
ISBN 0-77103266-8. CIP.

Grades 7-9 / Ages 12-14

Reviewed by Susan Ratcliffe.

Volume 14 Number 1
1986 January

Mention of the fur trade usually brings images of red-cheeked voyageurs, filled with the spirit of adventure, paddling merrily across serene blue lakes in the Canadian wilds. Tony German~s novel, A Breed Apart, fills in many of the darker, more dramatic details of that picture, making it much more vivid and human.

Duncan Cameron is the sixteen-year-old son of Angus Cameron, a Scottish gentleman partner in the North West Company, and of Rose Flower, a Cree woman. He is thus a Métis and must overcome the prejudices that face his race in the civilized world. In his own country of fur traders and northern outposts, like his home at Île la Crosse, his situation is both common and accepted: he must prove his worth only on the basis of his courage and abilities. Both are challenged by the arrival of Harry Whistler, agent of the Hudson's Bay Company, sent to take over the fort at Île la Crosse. Whistler destroys the friendly rivalry between the two companies by killing one of the North West Company's agents and by laying claim to Nancy Spence, the girl Duncan loves. Their rivalry erupts into warfare, leads to several killings, Duncan's disgrace, and an exciting cross-country chase that only ends with the triumph of justice.

The book will appeal to students in the intermediate grades who enjoy fastpaced adventure or who are studying this period of Canadian history in class. It could be part of a unit of novels on the theme of the fur trade or the Indian. It is easy to read, although the short, snappy sentences are somewhat overdone, giving the narrative a choppy sound. Recommended for purchase for the paperback rack.

Susan Ratcliffe, Centennial C.V.l., Guelph. ON.
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