Mary Beacock Fryer is a well-known expert on Upper Canadian history. She has written a trilogy on the Simcoe family: Elizabeth Posthuma Simcoe: A Biography, Our Young Soldier: Lieutenant Francis Simcoe, 6 June 1791-6 April 1812, and John Graves Simcoe: 1752-1806, A Biography. Among Fryer's other books are Escape, Beginning Again, and Buckskin Pimpernel.
Samuel de Champlain has long been known as the founder of Quebec and as a tireless explorer. No one knows for sure where he was born or who he really was. Still, his career was packed with interesting details and his early life prepared him for greatness.
Without Champlains own detailed records, the years 1600 to 1640 in Canada would be almost a mystery. Possibly Canadas first multicultural advocate, he dreamed of creating a new people from French and Aboriginal roots. However, his efforts to establish a colony encountered setbacks in France. Among his detractors was the powerful Cardinal Richelieu. Champlain was not of the nobility and thus was considered unfit for patronage.
The explorers story is an exciting one, as he explored new territory, established alliances and understandings with Natives, waged war when necessary, and left behind a legend in the New World that lasts to this day.
Fryer does a wonderful job of captivating the reader, she manages to effectively interlace the politics of a religiously contentious France with the adventurous matters of Champlain in the St. Lawrence Valley. Her attention to detail serves the biographical form perfectly and her eloquent presentation does not contrast the evidence.