Dispelling the languor often associated with the long historical novel David Richards’ epic novel reestablishes the role of the writer-craftsman in this genre.
Replete with historical accuracy, The Plough’s Share is as much about the complex struggles for self-worth as it is about taming the forces that shaped Canada in the last century.
Set alternatively in England, South Africa, and Canada, the novel translates the world of nineteenth-century England. A young man’s quest to regain his name and win a seductive young woman unfolds as Richards turns loose the hardship, blood, and terror of the Boer War, where men struggle to survive. The reprieve from such madness leads to Canada — the place of peace and plenty, where exploiting the dreamers and those who would reinvent themselves is turned into big business. Caught up in the fever that drew the Barr colonists to the challenge of settling the Canadian West, Richards’ characters are shaped by misdirected enthusiasm, implacable natural forces, and the hardened realism of ravaged dreams. The result is an exhilarating adventure, both tense and riveting.