Song of Batoche


Song of Batoche

Ronsdale Press | September 2017


A people’s struggle for rights to their land and identity, a woman’s fight for ownership of her body and soul.

Louis Riel arrives at Batoche in 1884 to help the Métis fight for their lands and discovers that the rebellious outsider Josette Lavoie is a granddaughter of the famous chief Big Bear, whom he needs as an ally. But Josette learns of Riel’s hidden agenda — to establish a separate state with his new church at its head — and refuses to help him. Only when the great Gabriel Dumont promises her that he will not let Riel fail does she agree to join the cause.

The year is 1884. Batoche, North-West Territories is plagued by drought and political unrest. When Louis Riel arrives, he discovers that the rebellious outsider Josette Lavoie is a granddaughter of the famous chief Big Bear, whom he needs as an ally. But Josette resists becoming his disciple when she learns that Riel is locked in a blood feud with J.A. Macdonald, the corrupt Dominion leader, who wants the Métis lands for European settlers. In this raw wilderness on the brink of change, the lives of seven unforgettable characters intersect, each one with secrets: Louis Riel and his tortured wife Marguerite; a duplicitous Catholic priest; Gabriel Dumont and his dying wife Madeleine; a Hudson’s Bay Company spy; and the enigmatic Josette Lavoie. As the Dominion Army marches on Batoche, Josette and Gabriel Dumont are forced to manage Riel’s escalating religious fanaticism and a growing attraction to each other. Song of Batoche is a timeless story that explores the mysteries of faith and reason, obsession and madness, betrayal and love.

Listen to Maia Caron talk to Shelagh Rogers about Song of Batoche and “Writing Dialogue for the Dead.”

“Where do women fit into the story of the North-West Resistance? That’s a question Maia Caron decided to answer in her novel, Song of Batoche. Along with Riel and Dumont, women are key players in her retelling of this pivotal piece of Canadian history.”

Shelagh Rogers, The Next Chapter


"This passionate retelling uses women's eyes to reveal the hidden history behind Riel and Gabriel Dumont. Deeply researched, and rooted in the soil of Batoche."

Marina Endicott, author of the Giller-nominated Close to Hugh

“Combining fine research and engaging storytelling, Song of Batoche is a stirring fictionalized account of events in and around the 1885 North-West Resistance. Josette Lavoie is an intriguing and memorable heroine.”

KATHERENA VERMETTE, author of The Break and winner of the First Novel Award

"Caron weaves a tale of love, betrayal and obsession . . . a vivid and fast-paced retelling of this moment in Canadian history."

DENE MOORE, Toronto Star, November 2017

“A fascinating and beautifully written account of Louis Riel and the months preceding the Battle of Batoche, as seen through the eyes of the Metis women. This is a perspective we’ve not seen before, and Caron handles it with compassion and depth.”

LAUREN B. DAVIS, author of the Giller-nominated Our Daily Bread and The Grimoire of Kensington Market

“One of the innovative qualities of this account of the 1885 Resistance is that so much of it is told from the perspective of the Metis women. With dynamic characters and a strong sense of place—it is the women who take us deep into Riel’s dream of a new North-West, with his own church at its head.”

Cherie Thiessen, BC BookWorld

In The Press

Shelagh Rogers, CBC’s The Next Chapter

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'This is an epic': Historical novel traces Métis author's family history with Louis Riel

Why Maia Caron wrote about the untold story of Métis women during the 1885 North-West Rebellion

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