Cold Edge of Heaven: A story of love and murder in Canada’s Arctic by Whit Fraser

The first of Whit Fraser’s writing I experienced, Cold Edge of Heaven offered me all the feels if I was willing to dive in and accept them. And, after the first few chapters, I was hooked and it felt like I was drowning in riveting emotions.

Starting slowly, I was as happy as Will Grant to disembark the ship and set foot on snow-covered land. The character development, of Will and his comrades, was slow and steady, letting me discover the magic and mayhem not only of the fictional RCMP officer and his Inuit guides but of myself through his trials and tribulations.

A beautiful tale that, for me, started slowly but with dramatic impact as Fraser told the tale of Will Grant and his fellow RCMP comrades, as their journey together stars in the desolate Artic in 1924. Tasked with making Canada’s mark of sovereignty over the far North, the drastic conditions and challenges made for an adventure of a lifetime, for the characters and the readers.

A fan of the great Farley Mowat, I compare Fraser’s storytelling to books I cherished of Mowat’s. Fraser was able to weave thrills, romance and historical moments throughout this book in a way that encouraged me to keep reading and craving the next development. With Inuit guides, Will Grant’s eagerness to adapt, connect and explore was admirable and commendable. His fellow officers, facing their own struggles and misconceptions, weren’t as excited to embrace the traditional Arctic ways of living and quickly showed signs of trouble, distress and aggression. For every kindness Grant showed it seemed mirrored with another horrific moment.

While Will was the main character Pudlu stole my heart. The only guide of the group with a knowledge of English, his acceptance of many tasks helped bridge the gap between the two Canadian cultures. Pudlu and Will connected quickly, over chess, carving and teachings which only happened easily through mutual respect. The spark was ignited immediately for Will when he saw Naudla, though he refrained from acting on it and tried his best to hide his feelings as Naudla was married and with two children. When she lost one, the moment was heartbreaking and the path of everyone changed drastically.

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This story includes a tremendous amount of luck, with avalanches, frostbite and the death of two officers, mixed with joy in discovering the relationship between man and man’s best friend, namely the husky, the beauty of ice, teamwork, perseverance and understanding.

While set in a time long ago, the storms that rage throughout are still relevant today and teach all of us lessons that last a lifetime. We can certainly learn a lot of history through fiction and storytelling and Whit Fraser has seemed to master that art.

Experiencing the unforgiving but beautiful Canadian north firsthand, including Devon Island which includes three hilltop graves, Fraser has travelled to every corner and most communities from Labrador to Alaska but always comes back to his home in Pictou. With an impressive resume as a journalist, award-winning author and vice-regal consort of Canadian Governor General Mary Simon, Fraser blesses us with fact and fiction in his latest novel Cold Edge of Heaven.

About the Author

Whit Fraser was inspired to write Cold Edge of Heaven after visiting an abandoned Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment at Dundas Harbour on Devon Island, which includes three hilltop graves. Fraser is a journalist, author, and viceregal consort of Canadian Governor General Mary Simon. He is the winner of the 2019 NorthWords Book Prize for True North Rising.

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Boulder Books (March 1 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 260 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1989417450
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1989417454

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