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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
The First Nations of the Northwest coast of British Columbia have a long and vibrant history, one that includes numerous myths and legends that they carved into their stories as well as their totem poles. So much of that history has disappeared, along with the villages that dotted the coastal waters. Europeans came, took what they wanted in lumber, fish and wildlife, pillaging the landscape, leaving dark, cavernous stains where thick, luscious forests once graced the shoreline. But the myths and legends didn’t really die. The Sasaheva, the wild man, and Tsonoqhah, the wild woman, both mythical creatures of the forest who shared their visions with the humans who sought to care for the land, they remained. For now. But the ravages of human greed will soon have their way with the wild creatures as well, until all that is left is steel and concrete and what so many would call civilization.
Ian and Amy are on an adventure, sailing along the British Columbia coastline from Victoria to Alaska. At Hurst Island, just off the northern point of Vancouver Island, their journey takes an unexpected turn when their sailboat, Ian’s pride and joy, hits the rocks. They manage to make it to the south shore with only the clothes on their backs, just as the boat sinks. The beautiful scenery that they had marvelled at from the boat now looks rather sinister and foreboding and their trek across the island in the hopes of finding help proves to be terrifying in ways neither one of them understands. But connecting with two First Nations men who come to their rescue, they soon learn that their journey is not over and that a spiritual journey is necessary, not only to educate Ian and Amy about the past and what the future might hold, but also how they might help in saving this pristine beauty for generations to come.
Jason Taylor’s novel, End of the Wild: Shipwrecked in the Pacific Northwest, is a journey of education, ecology, history and discovery. The plot develops at a good pace, weaving intricate past memories and events with the present and the future. History is told with accuracy and the plight of the First Nations, and the land they nurtured for many thousands of years, is told with riveting accounts that will make the reader think twice before plundering the valuable resources of nature. The characters are certainly believable and well developed and the descriptive parts of the narrative are as vivid as the images they describe, a real painting in words. Having lived for many years and explored the Northwest coast of British Columbia, this story captured my heart and my spirit at once. Brilliantly told with powerful messages to share.