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The Shining Mountains

Alix Christie

December 5, 2023

Angus McDonald had to escape from Scotland or risk arrest. In 1838, he contracted with the Hudson Bay Company to trade in the Pacific Northwest. There he discovers majestic mountains, raging rivers, and buffalo. He meets and marries Catherine, who is related to Nez Perce royalty, and together they face competing claims of British fur traders and gold seekers, settlers and Native Americans who’ve lives for thousands of years in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. The real Angus McDonald left essays and articles, and newspaper clippings and official letters that describe his friendships, horses, passion for his wife, his trajectory as a trader and interpreter, and the rise and fall of the people he’s come to love. The Shining Mountains (High Road Books, 2023) is a brilliant, fictional exploration of a family’s clash between colonial expansion and native culture, based on the author’s blended Scottish and Nez Pierce ancestors.

Alix Christie, a direct descendant of Angus McDonald’s brother Duncan, 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 a Pushcart Prize and 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. A letterpress printer and open water swimmer, she currently lives in Berlin, Germany, where she covers culture for The Economist.

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