Book Review: No Time to Bury Them
By Mark C. Eddy
Iguana Books; Fiction; ISBN 9781771802222; 168 pages; Paperback, Kindle
Reviewed by Margaret Evans
It is 1907 and Yukon Territory is still one of the last wild, untamed vestiges of Western Canada. When Inspector Richard Carol with the Royal North-West Mounted Police sits down for supper at the Brownstone Inn in Fort MacCammon, he has no idea just how dangerous the region has become. But he is about to find out as a young Mountie rushes into the dining room with news that a stranger has staggered into the Fort with a gunshot wound.
Carol rushes to the infirmary where Reverend William Corbett of the Anglican church in Dawson City lies dying. He has made the 40-mile journey to Fort MacCammon to warn the Mounties of what is happening in Dawson but, on the way, he was intercepted and shot. In his last breath, he tells Richard about Eric Morgan, a violent gang leader and murderer who, with his henchmen, controls Dawson and all who live and do business there, including the police, some members submitting to Morgan’s brutal rule.
Richard’s mission is to travel by dog sled to Dawson City, round up the Morgan gang, and restore law and order. Sounds easy. But in Mark Eddy’s fascinating book No Time to Bury Them, the mission proves to be anything but. Enemies lay in wait on the trail, and more than once tragedy befalls the team desperate to save the citizens of Dawson.
This is a great read. The characters bounce off the pages and the dialogue is true to the times and the personalities of a long-ago Yukon. The pacing keeps the pages turning as the story unfolds and as Richard is beset by more and more setbacks in his quest to find and arrest Morgan. And at its core is the timeless quality of a great story – a man on a mission to achieve something greater than himself while, at the same time, finding himself when all that mattered to him seemed lost.
It is all the more interesting that Eddy’s novel aligns itself with real police activities that were routine in early 20th century Yukon. Winter patrols were conducted between northern towns, and tragedy was always a threat in the wicked winter weather. He accurately portrays the First Nations people of the Yukon as well as the reliance and management of the dog teams, the lifeblood of travel in the Yukon.