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The broken blade
William Durbin
Children's Fiction DURBIN

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From Publishers' Weekly:

When his father is injured, 13-year-old Pierre takes his place as a voyageur on a 2400-mile, 12-week trip from Montreal to Lake Superior in 1800, paddling a canoe filled with trade goods. At first, Pierre counts every one of the difficult strokes, suffering raw hands, teasing, loneliness and backbreaking portages. But as the weeks pass, he grows into his work, even learning to accept the death of one of his comrades in the swirling rapids. Though this first novel lacks an overriding grand theme and is occasionally hindered by redundant dialogue, it is ripe with compelling information about the life of a French-Canadian voyageur on the Great Lakes; it will be especially fascinating to anyone who has ever walked the wild shores of Lakes Huron or Superior. The details are vivid: "The gunwales of each birch bark craft were painted with bright stripes, and `North West Company' decorated each bow. Flags hung from the stern poles, and vermilion-tipped paddles stood propped in each craft." For young teens who have trouble even convincing their parents they're old enough to go alone to the mall, this adventure tale book will give rise to daydreams of a more rugged time. Ages 10-up. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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main characters Pierre
Age: 13
French Canadian
Son of a voyager; father injures himself, so he joins his fathers company to keep the family from poverty; goes on his first canoe trip a boy and returns as a man.

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