Books·Canadian

Empire of Wild

Empire of Wild is a novel by Cherie Dimaline.

Cherie Dimaline

Broken-hearted Joan has been searching for her husband, Victor, for almost a year — ever since he went missing on the night they had their first serious argument. One terrible, hungover morning in a Walmart parking lot in a little town near Georgian Bay, she is drawn to a revival tent where the local Métis have been flocking to hear a charismatic preacher named Eugene Wolff. By the time she staggers into the tent, the service is over. But as she is about to leave, she hears an unmistakable voice.

She turns, and there Victor is. The same face, the same eyes, the same hands. But his hair is short and he's wearing a suit and he doesn't recognize her at all. No, he insists, she's the one suffering a delusion: he's the Reverend Wolff and his only mission is to bring his people to Jesus. Except that, as Joan soon discovers, that's not all the enigmatic Wolff is doing.

With only the help of Ajean, a foul-mouthed euchre shark with a knowledge of the old ways, and her odd, Johnny-Cash-loving, 12-year-old nephew Zeus, Joan has to find a way to remind the Reverend Wolff of who he really is. If he really is Victor. Her life, and the life of everyone she loves, depends upon it. (Random House Canada)

Cherie Dimaline is a Métis author and editor whose award-winning fiction has been published and anthologized internationally.

In 2017, her novel The Marrow Thieves won the Governor General's Literary Award for Young people's literature — text and the Kirkus Prize for young readers' literature. It is currently being adapted for television.

The Marrow Thieves was defended by Jully Black on Canada Reads 2018.

From the book

He was a dog, a man, a wolf. He was clothed, he was naked in his fur, he wore moccasins to jig. He was whatever made you shiver but he was always there, standing by the road, whistling to the stars so that they pulsed bright in the navy sky, as close and as distant as ancestors.

For girls, he was the creature who kept you off the road or made you walk in packs. The old women never said, "Don't go into town, it is not safe for us there. We go missing. We are hurt." Instead they leaned in and whispered a warning: "I wouldn't go out on the road tonight. Someone saw the rogarou just this Wednesday, leaning against the stop sign, sharpening his claws with the jawbone of a child."

For boys, he was the worst thing you could ever be. "You remember to ask first and follow her lead. You don't want to turn into Rogarou. You'll wake up with blood in your teeth, not knowing and no way to know what you've done."


From Empire of Wild by Cherie Dimaline ©2019. Published by Random House Canada.

Interviews with Cherie Dimaline

Cherie Dimaline talks to Shelagh Rogers about her novel, Empire of Wild. 17:05
Cherie Dimaline, author of The Marrow Thieves, speaks with Metro Morning host Matt Galloway about her novel and what it means to young Indigenous readers to see themselves represented in literature. 6:24
Cherie Dimaline on her Young Adult novel about a harrowing future 17:25
Tracey Lindberg was joined on stage by Métis writer Katherena Vermette and Métis writer Cherie Dimaline to talk about race and representation on Canada Reads, CBC's annual battle of the books. 18:21

Other books by Cherie Dimaline

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