2024 Festival:
October 21–27
Beast book cover image

December 10, 2024

Douglas & McIntyre

  • Young Adult

Returning to a favourite Northwest Territories setting, Richard Van Camp brings his exuberant style to a captivating teen novel that blends the supernatural with 1980s-era nostalgia to reflect on friendship, tradition and forgiveness.

For as long as Lawson can remember, his life in a small Northwest Territories town has revolved around “the Treaty” between the Dogrib and the Chipewyan, set down centuries ago to prevent the return of bloody warfare between the two peoples.

On the Dogrib side, Lawson and his family have done their best to keep the pact alive with the neighbouring Cranes, a family headed by a direct descendent of a revered Chipewyan war chief. But even as Lawson and his father dutifully tidy the Cranes’ property as an act of respect, their counterparts offer little more than scowls and derision in return, despite the fact that both families are Yahbati—warriors responsible for protecting the treaty.

Worse still, it seems that one of the Cranes’ boys is doing all he can to revive the old conflict: the cold-eyed Silver, fresh out of jail, has placed himself in the service of a cruel, ghoulish spirit bent on destroying the peace.

This latest feat of storytelling magic by celebrated author Richard Van Camp blends sharply observed realism and hair-raising horror as it plays out against a 1980s-era backdrop replete with Platinum Blonde songs and episodes of Degrassi Junior High. Unfolding in the fictional town of Fort Simmer—the setting of previous Van Camp stories—Beast delivers a gripping, spirited tale that pits the powers of tradition against the pull of a vengeful past.