By Harold Johnson
Published by Thistledown Press Review
$19.95; ISBN 978-1-77187-051-1 (pbk.)
Corvus is a novel that repays the reader’s persistence. Its setting is 80 years in the future, during a time of uneasy peace after a period of war, caused in turn by ecological disasters that have moved populations north, which causes overcrowding. The wars, therefore, are primarily to protect territory and the technological bubble enjoyed by the wealthy. This futuristic setting may initially discourage some, but ultimate rewards make it worth reading on.
The fact the novel is set in La Ronge and involves a First Nation community might also give one pause. What Johnson does well is create engaging characters, especially male characters. First, there is George Taylor, a well-meaning fellow who finds being a prosecuting attorney an uncomfortable fit, since the role expects him to be safe and predictable. While he yearns for the kind of career success that will give him his own condo in the sky, it, like the ORV (organic recreational vehicle) also represents a kind of freedom.
George has a love interest in fellow prosecutor Lenore Hanson. She too is ambitious, but tormented by her war memories and looking for some kind of haven. It seems obvious George and Lenore might solve both their dilemmas by coming together.
However, as every good novelist knows, things should never be too easy, and life gets more complicated when George crashes his man-sized raven-mobile into a First Nation community and is exposed to a grassroots way of life. Meanwhile, Lenore encounters an attractive renegade named Richard Warner, who lives in an ashram not far from the city. Richard too is a war veteran, but one who challenges the values that create war, use technological inventions to oversee all human actions and attempt to control independent thought.
By the end, Johnson exposes more humanity than prejudice and offers a satisfying climax and a kind of hope.
This book is available at your local bookstore or from www.skbooks.com.