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Synopsis

The view 16-year-old Thomas Osborne first had of Muskoka was at night, trudging alone with his even younger brother along unmarked primitive roads to find their luckless father who, in 1875, had decided to make a new start for his beleaguered family on some "free land" in the bush east of the pioneer village of Huntsville, Ontario. The miracle is that Thomas lived to tell the tale.

For the next five years Thomas endured starvation, falling through the ice and freezing, accidents with axes and boats, and narrow escapes from wolves and bears. Many years later, after returning to the United States, Osborne wrote down all his adventures in a graphic memoir that has become, in the words of author and journalist Roy MacGregor, "an undiscovered Canadian classic."

Reluctant Pioneer provides a brooding sense of adventure and un- sentimental realism to deliver a powerful account of pioneer life where tragedies arrive as naturally as rain and where humour resides in irony.

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