The Secret Cache
Sixteen year old Hugh Beaupre has been waiting all winter for his father to meet him at Sault Sainte Marie’s Northwest Fur company post situated on the eastern end of Lake Superior. Raised in Montreal by an aunt after the death of his Scottish mother, Hugh has only seen his French father a few times when he’s made brief visits east. Yet Hugh has always hoped to join Jean Beaupre in the wilds where he lived as a free trader. Now, after months of waiting, a letter has come from a brother Hugh did not know he had. Blaise, also called Attekonse (Little Caribou), is the son of Jean Beaupre’s second wife, an Ojibwa. He writes of their father’s tragic, mysterious death and of his last wishes for the boys to recover a fine cache of furs and a valuable packet that must be delivered to a man in Montreal.
Blaise summons Hugh to a meeting at the far western side of Lake Superior, at the place called New Fort (later to be named Fort William) on Thunder Bay. With the wild and tempestuous Great Lakes region as a backdrop, Hugh and Blaise meet and begin the painstaking unraveling of the mystery behind their father’s death. Besides the factors of unpredictable weather on the lake, the tensions existing because of the fierce competition within the fur trade, and the need for secrecy about their father’s furs, the boys are up against the dealings of a malevolent, renegade Iroquois who is gathering a band of discontents in the very area to which their search leads them.
For Hugh, it is a time of growth on many levels, not the least in his coming to deeply value and appreciate his brother Blaise who has been raised in a culture so different from his own.
Original Book: 304 pages