Saturday 27 August 2011

The Deserter

Finished August 24
The Deserter by Paul Almond
This is the first book in a new series called the Alford Saga. Loosely based on Almond's own ancestors, this book includes a good deal of historical research as well as some artistic license.
The book begins around 1800, when a young man named Thomas Manning is on a British man o' war moored in a small bay of the Gulf of St. Lawrence riding out a spring storm. Thomas knows the price to be paid if he gets caught deserting, but he has planned in advance for just such an opportunity and knows he may not get another chance before his ship heads back to join the fight against Napoleon.
He makes his way ashore and begins the trek inland, encountering a tribe of Micmac natives. They assist his endeavors and he becomes close to them. He begins to make a home for himself, but also works at a French village building ships. He also encounters some English settlers, using an assumed name, James Alford, to hide his identity in case they are looking for him for desertion.
As he learns skills from his employer, and from the natives, Thomas begins to make a life and start his own family. This book ends with him at that point, opening the opportunities for furthering the story in later books. The story flows well and Thomas comes across as a believable characters. The natives are also portrayed well and with respect. This is an interesting story and I look forward to future installments.


  1. Thanks for bringing my attention to this book. It sounds like a great start to a promising Canadian saga through generations.

  2. The second book is out now "The Survivor" and "The Pioneer" is coming out this fall.

  3. Thanks Shonna!

    Good review. I enjoy historical novels from this era and am going to give this a read. Just reserved it at my library