The Last Crossing

The Last Crossing

by Guy Vanderhaeghe
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Set in the second half of the nineteenth century, The Last Crossing is a sweeping tale of interwoven lives and stories.

Charles and Addington must find their brother Simon, who has gone missing in the wilds of the American West. They enlist the services of a guide to lead them on their journey across an unknown landscape: the enigmatic Jerry Potts, half Blackfoot, half Scottish, who suffers his own painful past. The party grows to include Caleb, a sycophantic American journalist, and Lucy, a wise and beautiful woman who travels in the hope of avenging her sister’s vicious murder, Custis, a Civil War veteran searching for salvation, and Custis’s friend and protector Aloysius, a saloon-keeper. This unlikely posse becomes entangled in an unfolding drama that forces each person to come to terms with his own demons.

The Last Crossing contains many haunting scenes — a bear hunt at dawn, the discovery of an Indian village decimated by smallpox, a sharpshooter’s annihilation of his prey, a boy’s last memory of his mother. It is a novel of harshness and redemption, an epic masterpiece, rich with unforgettable characters and vividly described events, that solidifies Guy Vanderhaeghe’s place as one of Canada’s premier storytellers.


Guy Vanderhaeghe, author

Guy Vanderhaeghe was born in Esterhazy, Saskatchewan, in 1951. His previous fiction includes A Good Man, The Last Crossing, The Englishman’s Boy, Things as They Are (stories), Homesick, My Present Age, Man Descending (stories). Among the many awards he has received are the Governor General’s Awards (twice); and, for his body of work, the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Fellowship, the Writers’ Trust Timothy Findley Award, and the Harbourfront Literary Prize. He has received many honours including the Order of Canada.


  • [A] brilliant new novel…"The Last Crossing" is one of those rarities: a page-turner that also bears the graceful prose and layered meanings of great literature. - Maclean’s
  • One powerful, beautiful, and heartbreaking novel. - San Francisco Chronicle
  • Bristles with rare vitality. - Sunday Telegraph
  • “The Last Crossing" is assured and impassioned, brutal and tender, a convincing re-creation of its milieu, a sharp portrait of its characters… As always, Vanderhaeghe’s muscular prose is a pleasure to read. - The Washington Post Book World
  • Stuffed with enough goodies to keep us entertained for days. - New York Times Book Review
  • “The Last Crossing" is Vanderhaeghe’s masterpiece… The novel is so consistently vivid, the storytelling so magnificent…What Vanderhaeghe is responding to, what he is writing about – albeit in a story that takes place more than a hundred years ago – is very much our present... "The Last Crossing" is also a terrific entertainment... In Vanderhaeghe’s book something approaching perfection is achieved. Scene follows scene described with such dexterity and skill that I was left, time and again, astonished…Here is a story that you can hear, see, smell, as you read it. "The Last Crossing" is a novel with a broad canvas, but of intimately handled physical detail. The suspense is unflagging, its several voices distinct. Not once does Vanderhaeghe put a foot wrong. - National Post


  • Longlisted, 2004 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award
  • Winner, 2004 Canada Reads

Rights Holder

Rights Holder: Cooke International



rights sold: English (Canada: McClelland & Stewart; UK: Little, Brown; US: Grove Atlantic), World French (Albin Michel), World Dutch (De Geus)

rights available: World

Additional Information

number of pages: 400

publication date: 09/23/2003

Original language of pub: English

Materials Available: complete manuscript