Not everyone ends up on the right side of history. Set during the North- West Rebellion of 1885, David D. Orr’s Encountering Riel follows the story of Willie Lorimer, a poetry student who’s forced into combat after forgetting to resign his commission to the Canadian militia. His journey to the heart of the rebellion is long and filled with many pitfalls, quickly erasing any heroic notions Lorimer naively held about war.
A former lawyer and provincial court judge, Orr has had a bug in him to write for many years, but avoided it to prevent any conflicts of interest in his work. Now that he’s retired, he’s pursuing the historical stories he’s longed to tell. In his first novel with Edmonton publisher Stonehouse Publishing, he proves to have a natural gift for storytelling and understanding the motivations of everyone involved in a dispute.
For lovers of historical fiction, this account is rich with detail and provides a balanced chronicle of both sides of the conflict, as The Riel Rebellion is still a contentious moment in Canadian history for both Anglophones and the country’s Métis and Indigenous peoples. With his compassionate tale, Orr presents the harsh realities of war and the multifaceted politics that underlie every moment in history and make heroes of no one.