Jamie is a Canadian orphan living with his uncle in northern Canada. He and his best friend, Awasin, who is a native Cree, set out with a trapper for an adventure in the Northwest Territories. Unfortunately, a canoe accident leaves the boys lost and alone in the northern tundra. Relying on what survival skills they have and their innate courage and ingenuity, Jamie and Awasin must survive and make their way through the soggy bogs and harsh landscape of Canada's north.
This is a tale of pure adventure. There is plenty of suspense and action, but the common thread throughout is the friendship and courage the two boys exhibit as their trip becomes more and more perilous. They must find food, stay dry and find secure places to rest, and keep the faith to continue plodding toward home. Hanging over their heads is the unpredictability of the northern climate, and the theme of man vs nature is very well done.
Mowat is one of Canada's greatest storytellers. His ability to create believable characters and place them in challenging circumstances beyond their control is impeccable. Survival depends solely on the courage and resourcefulness of the characters and, since they are young, Mowat's book is perfect for young readers, in particular young boys. So compelling are his images, they have inspired many an urban dweller to pack up the tent and get closer to nature.