A Reckoning opens in the spring of 1855, when John Dickinson is involved in a shameful secret that will require a tragic decision. The family's resources have been wasted by a reckless brother who holds all of them hostage and, adding fuel to John's desperation, the enslaved workers have been visited by a Canadian abolitionist who pushes them to escape. Bry does, and his pursuit of freedom will involve a dangerous quest to find his mother and child in Canada.
Meanwhile, the Dickinsons become fugitives of another kind, escaping their losses in a wagon en route to the West that will eventually be loaded onto a Missouri river boat for a dark adventure. Forests and rivers prevail in this story, and each person will be tested, especially 13-year-old Martin, whose lonely journey with a pet bear is almost mythic.
Spalding, a Kansas native who lives in Toronto, writes with irresistible force and breathtaking passion. Her language is stunning, her voice unique. A Reckoning confirms her place at the forefront of Canadian literature. (From McClelland & Stewart)