Spanning more than 1000 years, The Beothuk Saga is a fictionalized account of the original native people of Newfoundland. Beginning with their early encounters with the Vikings until their total annihilation at the hands of European and English settlers, this novel is a striking look at a style of life that is now lost to history. Told through the eyes of the Living Memory, who is the keeper of oral traditions within each generation, Assiniwi masterfully recreates the lives of those who survived in Newfoundland's harsh landscape.
The novel is told in three parts. The Initiate tells of Anin, the father of the Beothuk people, who traveled by canoe around the entire island 1000 years ago, encountering the Vikings. The Invaders continues to the time when Spanish, Portuguese, French and English explorers arrived and began raiding, kidnapping and murdering the natives, who they believed to be savages. The final part, Genocide, takes us to the late 1700's, when the Beothuk people hovered on the brink of annihilation. European disease had decimated their numbers, and the bounty placed on their heads ensured that hunting claimed the rest. In 1829 the last known Beothuk died in captivity in St. John's.
While this is a work of fiction, Assiniwi uses his background as an anthropologist and historian to write a convincing account of the Beothuk people. Authentic, imaginative and profoundly sad, this tale of a people know lost to history will stay with the reader long after the novel is finished.
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