A story of big wilderness, deep history, and ordinary people setting out for the great wide-open.

In 1869, the artist Frances Anne Hopkins has lost another child. With her husband, she embarks on one last canoe trip along the wild north shore of Lake Superior. To soothe her grief, their steersman whiles away the hours by recounting a long-ago legend of Frances and Garamond, two young immigrants to New France, Louis XIV’s colony in Canada. Years later, Frances Hopkins tells the tale to her students, one of whom is the great-grandmother of a modern-day Frances, a middle-aged divorcée on the cusp of a new life in the north. But it is an old man, the Synthesist, who drives the fates of all these people and gathers them together on Kitchi Gami, in the long, dark shadow of Michipicoten Island.


Michipicoten is pronounced mishapiCOTTen.