A stunning new voice in nature writing makes an epic journey along the Yukon River to give us the stories of its people and its protagonist--the king salmon, or the Chinook--and the deepening threat to a singular way of life, in a lyrical, evocative and captivating narrative.
The Yukon River is 3,190 kilometres long, flowing northwest from British Columbia through the Yukon Territory and Alaska to the Bering Sea. Every summer, millions of salmon migrate the distance of this river to their spawning ground, where they go to breed and then die. The Chinook is the most highly prized among the five species of Pacific salmon for its large size and rich, healthy oils. It has long since formed the lifeblood of the economy and culture along the Yukon--there are few communities that have been so reliant on a single source. Now, as the region contends with the effects of a globalized economy, climate change, fishing quotas and the general drift towards urban life, the health and numbers of the Chinook are in question, as is the fate of the communities that depend on them.
Travelling in a canoe along the Yukon River with the migrating salmon, a three-month journey through untrammeled wilderness, Adam Weymouth traces the profound interconnectedness of the people and the Chinook through searing portraits of the individuals he encounters. He offers a powerful, nuanced glimpse into the erosion of indigenous culture, and into our ever-complicated relationship with the natural world. Weaving in the history of the salmon run and their mysterious life cycle, Kings of the Yukon is extraordinary adventure and nature writing and social history at its most compelling.