Set in the 1670s, in the time of early French settlement in Canada amidst the internecine conflict between Iroquois and Huron, The Orenda is a tense and brutal tale of death and survival in a rapidly changing world. The novel opens with a desperate but ambivalent flight across a snowbound landscape. Christophe, the Jesuit missionary, and Snow Falls, an Iroquois girl, have just been captured by Bird and his band of Huron Indians. Having just killed Snow Fall’s family, the Huron or Wendat are escaping from a band of enemy Iroquois bent on revenge. Bird, the main Wendat war leader, is himself driven by revenge for his own family murdered by the Iroquois. Through several points of view the novel examines the shifting alliances between native peoples and the French, amidst the devastating effect of disease on the native population. The captivating character of Gosling, a powerful independent woman with magical powers adds depth and unforgettable poignancy. The story is a snapshot of a brief and turbulent time in North American history and serves as a kind of monument to that troubled time.