By Wilma Pritchard Hays, illustrated by Alan Moyler
187 pages, hardcover with dust jacket
“Word had come to France that England was preparing to besiege Quebec that summer of 1759, and both sides knew it was to be a fight to the finish. Now as Peter Demo stood on the deck of the French ship bringing recruits, the twelve-year-old stowaway was bursting with excitement over his first view of the walled city built on a sheer cliff two hundred feet above the St. Lawrence.” (description from inside dust jacket)
On the dust jacket, Mrs. Hays states that she “followed closely the true incidents of battle, the details of weather and its effects upon the siege.” This is a true statement, for her story is impressively researched. This is no generic fiction that is randomly set in an era; rather this book is steeped in 1759 Quebec. Commanders’ names and personalities are here. Songs of the era are sung by the soldiers. Even the thievery of the pompously named Grand Company of Associates is chronicled.
Interestingly, Mrs. Hays uses actual quotes for historic figures whenever possible. The speech of the Ottawa chief is chronicled by Captain Bougainville in his journal (1). Nearly all of General Montcalm’s lines are recorded in history. In addition to its research, this book also has a chronology for the siege of Quebec in the back of the book.
This book is a labor of love, and a charming look at the 1759 siege of Quebec.
Highly recommended. 5/5 stars.
The book’s best quote comes from the Abbe. When talking to Peter, he says: “Le bon Dieu (the good Lord) did not promise always to do what we ask. He promised always to be with us—whether it rains or shines.”
- pg. 145, Adventure in the Wilderness: the American Journals of Louis-Antoine de Bougainville (University of Oklahoma: 1990)