The Emir’s Falcon

By Matthew Hughes

Named one of Spring 2023’s Best Books for Kids & Teens by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre

Finalist for Young Adult Fiction, 2023 High Plains Book Awards

Finalist for Best Crime Novella, 2023 Crime Writers of Canada Awards of Excellence

“She was raised to be free, not some rich man’s pet . . . It’s just not right!”

Bernie Cholach’s dad wants him to take over the family’s rural Alberta feedlot, but Bernie has other ideas: he wants to be a biologist, an interest sparked by his experiences as a volunteer bird handler at a Canadian Wildlife Service facility that breeds and rears peregrine falcons for release into the wild.

Sheik Nasur bin Mukhta, son of a Persian Gulf emir, studying petroleum engineering at the University of Alberta, dutifully accepts his life’s course, laid out for him by his traditionalist culture.

Rosie Leboucan, daughter of a Métis trapper, running her injured dad’s trap line in the Swan Hills, is focused on keeping a roof over their heads and food on the table.

Then the Government of Canada decides to give the emir one of the peregrines as a diplomatic gift. It’s more than Bernie can stand. Impulsively, he takes the bird he has been tending—he’s named it Skyrider—and flees to a remote cabin in the Swan Hills wilderness.

The RCMP mount a search. Nasur, sent by his father to collect the bird, insists on being on the scene—which turns out to be both Rosie’s trapping territory and the territory of a hungry and dangerous mama grizzly bear with cubs.

The paths of the young people and the bear converge—and their coming together will send each in a new direction.

Praise for The Emir’s Falcon

“The Emir’s Falcon is a rich story that soars with action, drama and detail. It raises important issues of cultural and environmental conflict and still entertains and surprises right to the last sentence.”Arthur Slade, author of Dust, winner of the Governor General’s Award

“One peregrine falcon raised in a breeding facility, to be released into the wilds of northern Alberta. Three older teens from different cultures, their lives already mapped out by parental expectations. An impulsive action by one places that falcon at the crux of a potential international incident and brings all to the brink of catastrophe in the wilderness. A fascinating and insightful read.” – Alison Lohans, author of Timefall, Don’t Think Twice, and twenty-eight other books for young people and adults.


Additional information

Weight 0.522 lbs
Dimensions 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.41970 in

Trade Paperback, Epub, Mobi, MP3 Audiobook


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