From the beloved, bestselling author of Indian Horse and Medicine Walk, Richard Wagamese’s novel is a moving story of friendship, loyalty, compassion, and justice.
Joshua Kane, an Ojibway, has lived since infancy with his white adoptive parents. Johnny Gebhardt is white, and from a young age has had a fascination with Indigenous culture, craving the spirituality and strength he knows are a part of a life sorely lacking in his own. Happily, the two boys meet and form a deep bond through their “invention” of baseball, the warrior identities they bestow upon themselves, and their promise to always be loyal and good and kind.
When a nasty racial incident puts Joshua in the hospital and Johnny in a detention centre, Joshua begins to discover his heritage. Johnny, incensed at the injustices endured by Joshua and Indigenous people throughout North America, takes a militaristic stance in his fight for native rights and traditions. Each now has a disparate belief about what it means to be truly native, and their friendship dissolves.
A violent hostage-talking brings them together many years later, and they recall the oath they took as boys. This tragic event allows each man to fully realize the true spirit in the other.