From the bestselling author of Random Passage and Waiting for Time comes this masterful, engrossing story of the last surviving Beothuk, a World War II deserter and a recently widowed English woman at the end of the twentieth century.
During World War II, well into the Battle of the North Atlantic, Newfoundlander Kyle Holloway deserts from the Royal Navy. Now, hidden in a cave below St. Mary’s Church, the war-haunted young man remembers years of carefree friendship and petty crime in the narrow streets of St. John’s. Starving, disoriented and tormented by his own act of betrayal, Kyle hears a low, persistent murmuring, retelling a story of distant, far-reaching betrayals.
Over a century earlier, Shanawdithit, a young Beothuk girl, spends her childhood in a place she thinks of as the safe centre of the world. As she grows into young womanhood, listening to stories, sharing secrets with friends and falling in love, she slowly becomes aware that Dogmen are taking over her world. Each season, her people are forced farther inland, away from their own hunting grounds, back from the rich seal beaches. Now the only witness that the Beothuk once walked the earth, Shanawdithit is forced to endlessly repeat the story of her doomed people.
In 1998, Judith and Ian Muir are in Rwanda as part of the United Nations team investigating a genocide site. A shot rings out and Ian falls dead. Overwhelmed with grief, his widow returns to England and the abandoned cottage where she grew up. There, an unusual discovery takes Judith on a quest that will inextricably connect her life to the lives of Shanawdithit and Kyle Holloway. In Cloud of Bone, three stories come together to make both an intriguing mystery and a meditation on lost innocence, brutality and the power of memory.