S is for Stadacona

A2Z-BADGE-100 [2017]

My 2017 A to Z Challenge theme is “The History of Kanata”, the parallel world that is the setting for “Eagle Passage”, my alternative history novel that all began when I wondered, “What would have happened if Leif Eriksson had settled Vinland permanently in 1000 AD? For further details and links to my other A to Z posts – and hints at the ones to come visit “Kanata – A to Z Challenge 2017”.

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S is for Stadacona: 13 September 1759 – France has been making desperate attempts to expand its territories in North America, but Captain Benning Migisi and his Odawa militia lieutenant, Obwandiyag, watch at night from their ship as French scouts scale the cliff onto the plains beyond Stadacona, capital of Kanata [Quebec City]. Benning, Obwandiyag, and their force of Mjölnir Militia attack the French scouts but encounter other French troops. They evade French patrols to reach their own lines and warn the Kanatian commander, General Jakob Ulve, of the impending French assault.

On the morning of the 13 September, the Kanatian forces, regular and Mjölnir Militia, repel the repeated attacks of the French. However, Benning Migisi dies saving his friend Obwandiyag, and in his dying breath says, “We are one people. We are one within Manitou’s sight.”

This is the last attempt by the French to invade Kanatian soil, although the Dixie States declare war on their northern neighbours forty-three years later.

 

Benjamin_West_005

Death of General Wolfe (1770) – Artist: Benjamin West (1738-1820) – National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario – Public Domain.

 

In our timeline: On the 13 September 1759, at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, also known as the Battle of Quebec, British forces led by General James Wolfe successfully resisted the column advance of French troops and Canadien militia under General Louis-Joseph, Marquis de Montcalm. Wolfe received three gunshot wounds that ended his life within minutes of the beginning of the engagement and Montcalm died the next morning after receiving a musket ball wound just below his ribs. In the wake of the battle, the French evacuated the city; their remaining military force in Canada and the rest of North America came under increasing pressure from British forces.

France ceded most of its possessions in eastern North America to Great Britain in the Treaty of Paris. However, from 1763 to 1791, the British retained Quebec as the capital of the Province of Quebec; from 1791 to 1841, it was the capital of Lower Canada; from 1852 to 1856 and from 1859 to 1866, it was capital of the Province of Canada; and since 1867, it has been capital of the Province of Quebec.

As Kanata chose Stadacona (Quebec City) as their capital and major trading port, would there have been other nations that would attack the city? Or would the 1759 victory have been sufficient deterrent, except for the Dixie States?

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Gilles Boissard ~ heroic playboy?

English: McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, ...

English: McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Trying to find a suitable opportunity over the last thirteen years to interview Gilles Boissard has not been easy since he is a busy man. But he has taken time out from his hectic lifestyle to grant us this glimpse at his major role in ‘Spiral of Hooves’, or rather into what he knows as the tale opens.

First let me say, Monsieur Boissard that this is a belated pleasure.

Call me Gilles, Monsieur Boissard is my father, Roman. But we can ignore him.

Very well, but I need to ask what your life was like growing up in Canada?

Difficult in the sense that my father believed that he had all the answers having served in the Canadian Army. Fortunately my grandfather was wiser and ensured that I had what I required from a proper education to the means to ensure life was pleasurable.

So your family has money and….

Of course. The Boissards are a highly-respected family in the Province of Québec, with a very successful pharmaceutical business. We hold the patent on a number of medical advances, you know. Of course, I have concentrated on building up our equestrian enterprises, Boissard Équestre, despite my father’s interference.

I believe that you have had some success as a horseman.

Among various sports that I have devoted my time to including downhill racing in the winter. It’s been hard to excel at more than one sport but I can claim to have succeeded. Horses, of course, are my primary focus and I am always looking for new breeding stock. Recently I spent some months in Europe where I competed successfully at the same time.

Before the story in ‘Spiral of Hooves’ began, what were your hopes for the future?

I was committed to making Boissard Équestre a crucial part of Canadian eventing, primarily as breeders of medal-winning horses. It would have been satisfying to be a member of the Canadian team, and we had the horses.

What changed that?

Roman, as usual. He formed a crazy idea to involve Boissard Équestre in genetically modified feed trials, which failed miserably. Calisse, he nearly destroyed the business. But we are putting that behind us and the future is brighter.

We? Do you mean you and your friends?

Of course. We are a team. Our nutritionist, Lina Jardero and I were good friends at McGill University and I can rely on her advice, and on others. We try to help Armand Sabatier, who we met while at university as he’s a total book-worm, poor guy. But he means well, unlike Roman. My father wants to destroy everything.

English: McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, ...

English: McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So you hate him. Would you want him dead?

Criss, that’s a personal question. Let’s just say that I might have dreamed of it but I could never commit patricide. That’s not me. I’ll just stick to ignoring him.

Then how would you describe your personality?

Personable, good-hearted and generous. I am always ready to help my friends, and love giving people gifts when they deserve it.

And how would you describe your looks?

The women always tell me I’m tall, dark and handsome and who am I to argue.

So does that mean that there isn’t one special love? Would I be wrong to call you a playboy?

Playboy with serious ambitions, but why not enjoy life at the same time as buying horses. You know what they say about women and horses. And if there is someone special it’s remaining a secret – unless you’re implying I’m fated to meet some gorgeous woman in the first few chapters.

What’s your greatest ability?

As if that wasn’t obvious, spotting great talent whether it be equine or human and female. A great female rider on a superb horse would be the ultimate prize.

Do you see yourself as heroic?

Of course. Does that mean I am the hero of my own story? I deserve to be. Who’s the heroine? Bet she falls for my charm and I stop the villain, probably Roman. He’s more than qualified. What else can he do properly?

I’m guessing that Roman’s your bête noire. What do you like about other people?

Papa is merely a nuisance. With a few notable exceptions, people know what their role in life is and don’t try to step outside the confines of their situation. As such they can be fantastic company, especially when they appreciate the finest food and drink.

What do you think is going to happen next?

I meet the woman of my dreams and find the horse that can win me medals. I fear though that Roman will ruin everything as usual. He knows I’ve bought a stud in England and will try everything to stop us. Probably murder one of the team to spite me. Then I save the day.

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Other ‘Spiral of Hooves’ interview: Carly Tanner ~ Leading Lady & Athlete