Spencer Dickson was a city boy, so when he decided that a housing development on a large tract of forested lakeshore was an excellent new business venture, he was in for a shock. Before he could unleash the bulldozers there were environmental and archaeological studies to complete.
"You mean I'm going to have to pay for a bunch of tree-huggers and hippies to stomp around on my property, finding stuff that's going to cost me yet more money?" he said.
Under Steve Dawson’s leadership, the archaeologists soon confirmed Spencer’s fears. The history of the property proved far more interesting and complex than they’d anticipated, leading them to seek answers to a host of questions.
Why had the Davison family abandoned their early 19th century homestead?
What had happened to burn the 16th century First Nations village to the ground with all the people still inside the houses?
Who was the mysterious young girl Theo had encountered in the woods?
And whose bones had the police dug from the terrace by the lake shore?
It seemed inevitable that the housing development would eventually proceed, yet there were powerful forces working to keep the forest safe.
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A slightly supernatural novella which will charm readers who enjoy historical mysteries.
It all begins with a discovery of old bones, but there’s little sinister about the ghosts of the title. Instead the relentless march of modern development adopts the role of the villain as a new housing development encroaches on the sacred land of a First Nations burial ground. The story zigzags across the centuries, following the fate of pioneer settlers and those who came before them in Ontario’s backwood wilderness.
The author brings these historical characters and their contemporary counterparts vividly to life – and provides intriguing insights into the world of an everyday archaeologist to boot. A story with real soul, and an appreciation of the natural world, this is a thoroughly enjoyable and pleasingly positive modern-day fable.
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down; a cover to cover experience
Although well known in motorcycling circles for his accounts of life in the Canadian wilderness, astride his Moto-Guzzi motorcycles (under the Nick Adams name) this is a first and perhaps slightly autobiographical novella in which Adams cannot resist having a key character riding his motorcycle to an archaeological dig in the forests of Ontario. The story that develops is compelling, and it was a book that I could not put down until it was finished. This isn't some heavyweight tome full of complex characters, plots or intrigue. It's a simple story, much along the same lines as a good old fashioned Western by the likes of L'Amour or Grey, with characters who are simply painted but convincing. You feel an empathy with them, whether they be real or spiritual, and although you may need to suspend disbelief occasionally, that doesn't detract from the experience. It would have been easy to pad out the pages by fleshing out both characters and storyline, but I don't feel that would add anything to the whole, because this is all about the story itself, and embellishing it would be a distraction. You feel you know and understand the main characters, the location and the 'feel' of the place, so it's easy to become immersed in the experience. A very satisfying read. More please!