June 1934: the depths of the Great Depression. Reckless with anger and spoiling for a fight, seventeen-year-old Samuel Hewitt and his Shuswap friend Charleyboy conspire to steal a prize stallion and disappear into the blistered, unforgiving terrain of British Columbia's Thompson River Valley.
The boys are looking for a fresh start-and for somewhere to belong. But what they find is a hardscrabble existence enlivened by ruthless criminals and boxcar bums ... until they come upon the denizens of a once-majestic travelling circus struggling to survive in an era in which even marvels have lost their capacity to charm. In this surreal, ramshackle environment, Samuel develops an unexpected kinship with the failing ringmaster and his enigmatic daughter. But violence and treachery are prevalent in the shadows of the Big Top, and Samuel may well find himself on the run once more.
In The Ballad of Samuel Hewitt, Nick Tooke presents an uncommon coming-of-age story as well as a thoughtful examination of the meaning of home and family.
Set against the backdrop of the Great Depression, a young horse thief and his unlikely accomplice are pursued through the forbidding landscape of the BC interior. There they encounter villains, drifters and fiercely insular circus folk in a profound tale of friendship, forgiveness and finding home.