When Eagles Call

By (author) Susan Dobbie
Categories: Fiction
Publisher: Ronsdale Press
Paperback : 9781553800057, 242 pages, February 2003


In this historical novel, Susan Dobbie takes us inside the world of Kimo Kanui, a young Kanaka man who leaves his native Hawaii in the early nineteenth century at a time when thousands of his people were leaving to find work abroad. Dobbie portrays Kimo signing on with the Hudson’s Bay Company and being sent as a labourer to Fort Langley on the banks of the Fraser River.

When Eagles Call offers a rich and colourful account of daily life with the Company on the Pacific Northwest, with its long days of harsh work, its exotic voyageurs and its troubled relationships with the Native peoples who are sometimes friendly but often suspicious and hostile. For Kimo, the new life proves transformative as he grows to enjoy life "on the edge. "

Kimo survives an Indian attack on the fort and the accidental fire that burns the stockade to the ground. He encounters the wild men of the fur brigades and is awed by the great salmon runs along the river. He becomes deeply involved with the natives through his growing love for the half-Kwantlen, half-French Canadian woman, Rose Fanon, and when her life is threatened by marauders, he breaks Company rules to rescue her.

As his attachment to Rose and the land grows, he foresees a time when the Company will no longer control the territory, when men can freely trade and lay claim to the land. At the novel’s close, war seems imminent as Britain disputes America’s claim to the Oregon Territory, and Kimo faces the most difficult challenge of all ? to return to the safety and sun of Hawaii, or remain in this dangerously beautiful new land with Rose.