In the grand literary tradition of Gore Vidal’s novels about American political history, Roy MacSkimming has conjured an extraordinary novelistic recreation of the last days of Canada’s indomitable first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald.
Narrated by his private secretary, Joseph Pope, Macdonald opens with stirring scenes of Sir John fighting his last great election battle on issues that uncannily echo our national concerns today. The year is 1891, and there is a very real fear of absorption by the United States. Meanwhile a political scandal in Quebec threatens to topple his government.
Joseph Pope renders his chief in intimate detail, revealing the immense charm and personal magnetism that gave Macdonald such mastery over people and events. As the novel moves majestically towards his final hours, Sir John himself addresses the reader directly, reflecting on his past and present. The spellbinding narrative features a memorable cast of characters ranging from President Ulysses S. Grant, Louis Riel and Sir Wilfrid Laurier to Sir John’s feisty second wife, Lady Agnes Macdonald.
Convincingly grounded in the political and personal passions of the day, Macdonald delivers a brilliant and exciting portrayal of a young emerging nation and its greatest champion. Emotionally engaging, this is historical fiction at its best.
Praise for Roy MacSkimming’s MacDonald:
“Handled with imagination, sympathy and verve, making a hugely enjoyable read. . . .Macdonald is no hagiography . . . but it vividly reminds us of his historical stature. . . . This is the way to learn history.” —The Globe & Mail
“Fun to read. MacSkimming makes Sir John a man you would have loved to have known and hung out with — brilliant, but wearing his erudition lightly; passionately pragmatic and unideological; clever but never cruel; self-serving, yes, but always dragging lesser mortals along in his usually beneficial wake.” —Quill & Quire
“Macdonald is an excellent read, providing an artistically original yet historically authentic take on its title character and his peers. This rich and very accessible novel is sure to contribute to Macdonald’s timelessness for anyone who reads it.” —Halifax Chronicle Herald
“Gripping historical fiction ... the book remains compelling thanks to MacSkimming’s painstaking research.” —Montreal Gazette
“For Sir John A. Macdonald, politics was a fever in the blood, and no one has caught that quality more movingly than Roy MacSkimming in his dramatic chronicle of the lion in winter’s final struggle. This is a singularly well-crafted novel that serves top place among the books on Canadian history that matter.” —Peter C. Newman, author of The Secret Mulroney Tapes
“ ‘You’ll never die, John A.!’ they cried during Sir John A. Macdonald’s final campaign. In fact, he’s alive and well—thriving, amusing, brilliant, in love and at war—in Roy MacSkimming’s gloriously realized novel. Whoever said Canadian history is boring needs to be given this book. Macdonald and Laurier are superstars – and thanks to Roy MacSkimming’s storytelling magic, we gain a new appreciation of the great good fortune that made Canada possible.” —Roy MacGregor, author of Canadians
“In this extraordinary novel, Roy MacSkimming follows Canada’s first Prime Minister and the keeper of tomorrow to his grave. A wonderful and intimate evocation of a political lion in winter in an Ottawa on the cusp of the 20th century.” —Aritha van Herk, author of Mavericks, An Incorrigible History of Alberta
“Roy MacSkimming does for Macdonald what the history books have failed to do. He not only brings him to life, he brings him into our hearts.”—Nino Ricci, author of Testament
Length: 288 pp
Setting: Canada, Great Britain
Period: historical, late 1800s
Canadian rights, Thomas Allen Publishers
For all other rights contact The Cooke Agency.
Photo Credit: David Zimmerly
Roy MacSkimming is an author, critic, publishing industry analyst and former publisher. His novels Formentera and Out of Love have been translated into French. He is married, with two sons, and lives in the country near Perth, Ontario.
Roy MacSkimming’s website can be found at www.roymacskimming.com