In 1853, in the farthest outpost of the Czar’s empire, four Scandinavian indentured servants—seven-year men no better off than slaves—resolve to escape from Russian Alaska. They steal an Indian canoe and point it south toward Astoria, in Oregon, twelve hundred miles away.
This novel of audacity is based on a historical incident discovered by the author, and transformed by his imagination into a sustained sweep of adventure. The four sea runners must weather the worst the ill-named Pacific can throw at them, and must weather their own fierce squalls, too, as day upon day, guided as much by instinct and determination as by map, they paddle through the magnificent maze of the Northwest Coast toward the mouth of the Columbia River.
Ivan Doig (1939-2015) was a third-generation Montanan and the author of sixteen books, including the classic memoir This House of Sky and most recently Last Bus to Wisdom. He was a National Book Award finalist and received the Wallace Stegner Award, among many other honors. Doig lived in Seattle with his wife, Carol. Visit IvanDoig.com.