A British sailor’s experiences as a prisoner of the Mowachaht people from 1803 to 1805 are retold in graphic form.
In March 1803, the trading ship Boston dropped anchor in Nootka Sound, west of Vancouver Island, near a village known as Friendly Cove. The crew intended only a brief stay to make repairs and resupply, but their plans went awry after their captain gravely insulted the local tribe’s leader, Maquinna. For the Mowachaht, it was the latest in a long series of offenses by white visitors, and they retaliated violently, killing most of the crew. However, Maquinna spared and enslaved John Jewitt, the ship’s young blacksmith and armorer, due to the usefulness of his skills. In retelling Jewitt’s story, Goldsmith draws not only upon Jewitt’s journals (kept in secret throughout his captivity), but also on other historical records, contemporary First Nations sources, and her own imagination. The result is a character-driven survival story—one in which Jewitt’s genuine rapport with his captors conflicts with his unwavering desire to return home. The full-color illustrations (done by penciler Short, inker Dembicki, and colorist Keeling) take few risks with style or paneling, but they establish a strong sense of the time, the place, and Mowachaht culture.
A respectful, leisurely paced work of historical fiction. (author’s note, foreword, maps, list of commonly spoken words in the Nootkan language) (Graphic historical fiction. 12-18)