About this book
Robert Pepper-Smith’s trilogy of novels chronicling the lives of those with deep roots in the orchard lands of British Columbia comes full circle with this volume, collecting newly revised editions of The Wheel Keeper and House of Spells with Sanctuary.
The Wheel Keeper introduced readers to Michael Guzzo, raised in one of the many immigrant families who flocked to the vineyards and orchards of the Kootenays. When the government plans to flood his village for a hydroelectric project, young Michael seeks escape with his rebellious cousin Maren, who is experiencing her own story of displacement.
In House of Spells, Rose and Lacey are two teenagers from the region who share a vital connection to Michael. When Rose becomes pregnant, the wealthy Mr Giacomo offers to raise the child, but can this mysterious benefactor be trusted? Or is there something sinister going on behind the local entrepreneur’s offer?
Finally, in the never-before-published Sanctuary, the stories of Michael, Rose and Lacey merge after Lacey goes in search of Michael in Central America. These two seekers, estranged from their homeland, must face down the forces of industry and politics that threaten their life-sustaining connections to land, identity and memory.
“With considerable skill and sensitivity, Robert Pepper-Smith reveals something both tragic and magical in his story of three friends whose childhood village and its essential orchards are flooded by an ambitious government, driving the population out of their homes and into the dangers and uncertainties of a larger world. In exploring the survivors' fates he has given us a wonderfully original, ambitious, and engaging novel.”
“The Orchard Keepers is a novel of fierce, quiet resistance. Against a backdrop of the flooding of Columbia River valleys for hydroelectric dams in the 1950s and the displacement of Guatemalan farmers by foreign mining interests in the 1970s, the lives of the characters incandesce, defying despotism in all its forms. Staunch, independent, unique, they bear witness to the real power of human connection, patiently transmitting language, memory, and nurture.”