Brutal, tragic [and] viscerally realistic... What makes it extraordinary and, at times, hard to read or bear, is the way Boyden pulls no punches in conjuring up the horrors of tribal warfare without compromising the enveloping tragedy of the decimation of the Hurons and their way of life... It does not compromise the importance of this serious book, leaving the reader stunned and saddened.' 4 out of 5 stars. --Metro
A tour-de-force... Boyden's skill in never allowing the point of view of one of his protagonists to become more seductive than the others is remarkable... It is transparent that Boyden has done his historical homework...The author is too good, however, to make that anything but a subtext... Those layers are there to be savoured... to be secondary to the pursuit of a captivating plot. --The Herald
Every time I opened the pages of The Orenda it was like stepping into another world, so vastly different to my own, but so wonderfully rich and evocative that I would feel a sense of dislocation whenever I closed the book and went about my normal life. It is by far the best novel I've read all year. --We Love This Book - Best Books of 2013“The Orenda illuminates the shadowy moment of our inception as a country. It forces us to bravely consider who we are. The Orenda is much more than a timely novel. It is a timeless one; born a classic.” - National Post
"A stunning, masterful work of staggering depth, possibly the first truly great Canadian novel of this century." - Vancouver Sun
"In what has already been a banner year for Canadian fiction, Joseph Boyden has just stepped decisively to the head of the class." - Montreal Gazette
"An epic worthy of Herodotus or Sima Qian…The Orenda declares it an equal to any ancient Greek or Chinese account of empires rising and falling. . . a great, heartbreaking novel, full of fierce action and superb characters and an unblinking humanity." - Globe and Mail
“Epic in scope, exquisite in execution . . . A fascinating glimpse of what it felt like to live at the sharp end of the spear of European conquest.” - Publisher’s Weekly
"Every so often, a book can bring the past back to life so vividly that it ceases to be history and becomes a part of the living world. Joseph Boyden has done this with haunting beauty and visceral strength, repopulating a destroyed world with characters so real and striking it is hard to think of them as fictional. The Orenda is not only Boyden's finest work, it is one of the most powerful novels I've ever read." - Steven Galloway, The Cellist of Sarajevo
“Joseph Boyden has taken our memory of the past – myth and fact – ripped it inside out with elegance, violence, emotion and understanding until before us stands a new myth, a new memory, of how we became who we are.” - John Ralston Saul
“The Orenda is a powerful story from history, folklore and the imagination, based on the universality of human cruelty, superstition and perseverance. Wonderful writing.” - Linden MacIntyre, Giller Prize-winning author of The Bishop's Man
“An important and engrossing novel. Boyden invites the reader to re-imagine a Canadian story you thought you knew.” - Jim Balsillie, Co-Founder Blackberry
“I have spent almost forty years of my life studying both the archaeology of the Huron-Wendat and the annual accounts of the Crows and only now, having read Joseph Boyden's brilliant novel, do I feel the majesty and the horrors of the lives of these people. His work should be required reading for every Canadian” - Dr. Ronald F. Williamson, co-author of The Mantle Site: An Archaeological History of an Ancestral Wendat Community and Managing Partner of Archaeological Services Inc.
“Boyden’s bloody and brick-thick new novel, The Orenda, is a historical epic about an idealistic missionary caught between warring tribes, hundreds of years before confederation. . . Full of head-bludgeoning and throat-cutting scenes set in the wilds of what is now Ontario, the novel feels like a hybrid of Pierre Berton and Cormac McCarthy: perfect for readers who like a little arterial spray with their history.” - Toronto Life
About the Author
Joseph Boyden’s first novel, Three Day Road, was selected for the Today Show Book Club, and it won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, the Amazon.ca/Books in Canada First Novel Award, as well as numerous others. His second novel, Through Black Spruce, was awarded the Scotiabank Giller Prize and named the Canadian Booksellers Association Book of the Year; it also earned him the CBA’s Author of the Year Award. Boyden, of Ojibwe, Irish, and Scottish roots, is a member of the Creative Writing faculty at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He divides his time between Northern Ontario and Louisiana.