The year is 1838. A young Scotsman forced out of his homeland arrives on the frozen lip of Hudson’s Bay. Angus McDonald is twenty-one, contracted to British masters to trade for fur. But the world he discovers is far beyond even a Highlander’s wildest imaginings: raging rivers, buffalo hunts, and the powerful daughter of an ancient and magnificent people. In Catherine Baptiste, kin to Nez Perce chiefs, Angus recognizes a kindred spirit. The Rocky Mountain West in which they meet will soon be torn apart by competing claims: between British fur traders, American settlers, and the Native peoples who have lived for millennia in the valleys and plateaus of the Shining Mountains’ western slopes.
In this epic family saga, the real history of the American West is revealed in all its terror, beauty and complexity. The Shining Mountains brilliantly limns a world now long forgotten: of blended cultures seeking allies, trading furs for guns and steel, and a way of life in collision with westward colonial expansion. Read More
“A novel to be savoured.”
Sarah Dunant, author of In the Name of the Family
“Enthralling. . . . Christie demonstrates a printer’s precision . . . in her account of quattrocentro innovation, technology, politics, art and commerce.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“In Christie’s stellar debut, we become observers to the birth of one of the greatest inventions of man—the printing press. . . . Masterful. . . . A highly recommended novel.”
Historical Novel Society
“Christie masterfully depicts the time and energy required to print the first Bibles, a years-long process of trial and error, tinkering with ink and type, lines and paper, guilder after guilder spent without return, all against a catastrophic backdrop of plague, the fall of Constantinople, the violent superstitions of the peasantry, and a vested intelligentsia. . . . A bravura debut.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“A sophisticated, moving story of the creation of the Gutenberg Bible. . . . Christie provides a powerful portrait of the intense, irascible and egotistical Gutenberg, but her novel’s real strength lies in its depiction of [the scribe Peter] Schoeffer, drawn unwillingly into the struggle to build a new technology, yet eventually becoming its most committed advocate.”
The Sunday Times
“By juxtaposing the lexicon of traditional printing with references to modern concepts like intellectual property theft, Christie spotlights intriguing parallels between 15th-century Europe and the digital media of the 21st-century world.”
New York Times Book Review
Alix Christie grew up in California, Montana and British Columbia. She is a prize-winning journalist and author of novels, reportage and short stories. Her debut novel, “Gutenberg’s Apprentice,” the story of the making of the Gutenberg Bible, was shortlisted for the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award, and long-listed for the International Dublin Literary Prize. Her story “Everychild” won the 2021 Jeffrey E. Smith Editor’s Prize in fiction from The Missouri Review. As a longtime foreign correspondent based in England, France and Germany, she has written numerous articles and stories set in other places and times, including “The Dacha,” a finalist for the 2016 Sunday Times (UK) Short Story Award. She currently lives in her native California, where she covers culture for The Economist, prints on a letterpress and swims in San Francisco Bay.