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In a time when the Dogrib people were under constant threat of attack by raiders supplied with weapons by Europeans, Tatsea tells the story of cultural clash and the violent change that accompanies it. Set in Canada's Subarctic in the early 1700s, Tatsea is an adventure story of love and survival. At the novel's core are Tatsea, a young Dogrib woman uncertain of her place in the world, and Ikotsali, the frog-faced man, who, despite being a highly skilled hunter, is ignored by his people because of his deformed face. When Ikotsali saves Tatsea and her father after a hunting accident, Tatsea is married to their strange-looking rescuer. On a day when Ikotsali is away from camp, raiders arrive and kill everyone except Tatsea, who is captured, and their infant daughter whom she has hidden. When Ikotsali returns to find the carnage, their struggle to survive and become reunited begins. Wiebe draws on his time spent in the Northwest Territories teaching school and living with the Dogrib people. He deftly combines the Dogrib story of how they got their first rifle with the legends of a boy who turned into a frog, and of Yamozha, a man who wandered the world to make it safe.
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