Harold R. Johnson is a difficult writer to classify and, therefore, an interesting writer to read. On his Twitter bio, he labels himself “trapper, fisherman, writer, father, grandfather, husband, lawyer, dog musher, farrier, lumberjack, prospector, Uncle, friend, heavy equipment operator, paddler.” The books he’s written are just as varied and unpredictable. His polemic Firewater draws from his experience as a Canadian Crown Prosecutor to address the scourge of alcoholism, while Cry Wolf matches Indigenous traditions with forensic science in an investigation of a fatal wolf attack in Saskatchewan. His novel The Cast Stone has the United States conquering Canada and facing resistance, while his later Corvus is a dystopian novel set in a future Canada struggling to accommodate catastrophic climate change.
Some themes and motifs recur—the meeting of First Nations and European cultures, the resilience of Cree culture, stewardship of and care for the environment—how these themes will materialize from one book to the next is impossible to predict. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that Johnson has now written a fantasy novel of sorts.