Following on from the previous Mountie-themed review, here’s another, this time by the creative team behind Kenya. This is a very different book, and is the first Leo book I’ve read that doesn’t involve giant wildlife of terrestrial or extraterrestrial origins. Although Leo’s books may always have been set within a science fiction structure, at their core is the relationships between people and their struggle to either survive or find answers under difficult circumstances, so in fairness that’s the perfect fit for a man seeking justice in the landscape of the frozen north.
The hero of the piece is Sergeant Philip Trent of the mounted police, and on this occasion he’s tracking a man through the snowy mountains. While holed up in a cabin for the night he hears cries of distress in the darkness that lead him to a woman beset by wolves on her own personal quest to find her missing brother. Initially unwilling to be diverted from his own mission, the woman, Agnes, mentions her brother’s name and Trent can’t help but be intrigued, and so allows himself the diversion to find out more. There’s murder ahead, and it’s not got going to be pleasant.
The interesting thing about Trent is that he’s not your usual chisel-jawed action hero, but a man trying to do the right thing, lost somewhat in the solitary life he now largely leads, and still coming to terms with aspects of his private life from years before. He’s dedicated and determined, but at the same time there’s a sense of fragility about him in this first tale that gives him an additional depth and vulnerability.
Leo’s wonderful illustrations fit the story perfectly, depicting landscape and the people that live within it with a casual realism that bring the whole story to life. It’s also nice to see Leo’s work reproduced in the larger format too.
Another top choice for English language adaption by Cinebook, and with more books on their way soon a welcome addition to any bookshelf.
And if you liked that: Take a look at Kenya if you haven’t already