Going Home (Skye’s West)
This novel opens at the tail end of the Rendezvous of 1832. Englishman Barnaby Skye has to make a choice. His job as a camp tender with the Rocky Mountain Fur Company has been eliminated. Unless he wants to go back to trapping, a job he isn’t keen on, Skye is without a livelihood. But he has another option. Officials with the Hudson Bay Company have arranged for him to receive a pardon for deserting the Royal Navy six years earlier. The catch: he must return to England to get this favor and they can’t employ him without it. It’s a gamble, but if he succeeds, he could recover his good name and reunite with his family before returning to work for the HBC.
But where is home for Skye? And what will become of his Crow wife, Victoria,
if he pursues this course? While wrestling with these and other considerations on the journey to Fort Vancouver, the Skyes are adopted by a strange, yellow dog, and assume the added responsibility of herding an eccentric naturalist named Professor Nutmeg. They manage to make it to their boat to England on time, but the story doesn’t end there by a long shot.
This is an enthralling, well-told, adventure story with convincing, likeable characters. Wheeler deftly mixes historical figures with fictional ones. In addition, he explores the meaning of home and honor. Are these things bestowed on man by circumstance of his birth or does he earn them by his actions? If the former, is this enough? If the latter, does it mean the same thing? I enjoyed Going Home very much and would like to read the prior two novels in the series as well.