The Deserters' Orchestra

The unprecedented story of how three unlikely friends find themselves caught in a defining moment of the Second World War and the future of Russia.

In August 1942, Dmitri Shostakovich’s Seventh Symphony had its première in the ruins of Leningrad. Broadcast all over the city, the country, and directly into the trenches of the surrounding German troops, the symphony pronounced Leningrad’s resistance to oppression, its hope for liberation, and its will to survive. In the midst of the deadliest siege in history, the “Leningrad” symphony was a reassertion of humanity.

From the fictional viewpoints of Yuri, a retired museum guide, Nina, an ambitious young student, and Yanov, an ex-tank commander, The Deserters’ Orchestra explores how this accidental trio endured in a city ransacked by disease and bombs; how, with the food ration at starvation level throughout the coldest winter ever recorded, they lost and found love, friendship, and courage; and how they ended up in a makeshift orchestra performing the symphony that helped win the war.

Under the Reeling Sky

A reimagining of the celebrated life and mysterious death of Canada's most famous artist, Tom Thomson.

Under the Reeling Sky tells the parallel stories of Patrick and Lou, a young couple vacationing among the lakes of Algonquin Park in 2012, and Tom Thomson, the iconic painter whose body was tragically discovered in those same lakes in 1917. As they learn more of the ghostly presence of the famous painter, Patrick and Lou find themselves at the heart of one of the great mysteries in Canadian history.

The modern vignettes frame the narrative, but the bulk of the story is Thomson’s own. As his fellow artists headed to the battlefields of France, he retreated, first to the boisterous emerging city of Toronto, and then into the forests of the Park, painting obsessively and harbouring a doomed love. A subtle, compelling, and dark tale of art, love, and ghosts, this novel brings to life the fascinating man who became the presiding spirit of the Park.