In their own separate corners of the country, Jade and Tanner have become fighters for religious freedom. Now Jade’s unfaithful husband is determined to destroy her in a custody battle that will rock the nation and shake people’s understanding of faith and freedom. Could Jade lose her only child because of her faith? Only one man can help her in her darkest hour. And only one old woman knows the secret about that summer and the truth that can set them all free.
We’re in the Canadian uplands, a landscape of lakes and forests, cabins and canoes, hunters and hunted. The Healer is a young teenage girl with a gift she finds hard to bear: she seems able to heal the sick, to drive out foul spirits. Her father is a brutal man: strong, tempestuous and violent, he finds it hard to accommodate his daughter’s abilities in the way she would wish. A journalist, our principal narrator, comes between them, sent by his magazine to secure a story.
Entranced by the girl and the emptiness of the land, he buys from a persuasive realtor the derelict lakeside cabin which becomes the centre of the action, as all three main characters swirl into a vortex of vengeance and violence – violence reflected in a landscape of storms and floods of terrifying power. Hollingshead proves himself a writer who knows the lethal force latent in the natural world. And that man is an animal too.