If you’re a regular visitor round these parts, then you’ll know I love me some Marcus Sedgwick reading matter… You’ll also know the very wonderful @stormfilled managed to snag me a signed copy of this one a few weeks back.
I certainly wasn’t disappointed when I managed to find time to read it the other day. 🙂
When Sig’s father initially bought the old second-hand revolver to protect his family in the remote and desolate wilds of Canadian gold-rush towns he had no idea the significance it would have many years later.
Moving forward to 1910, and a tiny place called Giron, many miles north of the Arctic circle. And Sig is alone, with his dead father (who that morning after having an accident trying to cross the unsafe frozen lake their property sits on the edge of, had pulled himself from the icy waters only to freeze to death, out on the ice) waiting the return of his sister and step-mother.
When a stranger knocks on the door, asking to see his father.
The story switches back and forth, between showing us some of his father’s life, years ago, and an ever growing sense of threat and danger for Sig as the stranger forces his way in to Sig’s home. The man has been chasing Sig’s family for over 10 years, determined to settle some outstanding business. Now as his fathers corpse lies on the table between the two, the stranger insists that as he is now the man of the house, that responsibility now lies with him.
As his desperation grows, Sig comes to the understanding that the only means of escape, lies with the old Colt revolver that he knows is hidden in there storeroom…
I defy anybody to read this and not shiver! And I’m not just referring to the tension, Sedgwick slowly builds towards. No, I’m talking about his perfect descriptions of the cold, harsh, landscapes that lie in the Arctic Circle. – You’ll want to keep a hot pot of tea or coffee and a blanket nearby whist reading them 😀
At it heart, this is a moral tale about whether it’s right to use a gun, and for what purpose, and even in the end, how. Yet, even though it is about Sig’s moral choice, Sedgwick never attempts to moralise on either side of the argument.
Impeccably researched and wonderfully written, with this one, Sedgwick, continues to be one of my favourite writers of recent years.