The Emir’s Falcon

By Matthew Hughes

Coming in 2022 . . .

Bernie Cholach is an Alberta high school senior, a farm boy who wants to be a biologist, though his father wants him to take over their feedlot.  His desire to pursue a career in science has been amplified 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, to repopulate the species after it was decimated by pesticides.

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

Rosie Leboucan is the teenage daughter of a Métis trapper, now running her dad’s trap line in the Swan Hills after he became disabled when a horse fell on him.  Her ambitions are to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table.

Then the Government of Canada, wishing to sell a nuclear-powered desalination plant to the emirate, decides to give the emir one of the peregrines as a diplomatic gift.  Nasur’s father asks him to go to the rearing facility to accept the bird.

When Bernie learns of the government’s intentions, it’s more than he can stand.  He impulsively takes the bird he has been tending – he has named it Skyrider – and flees to a remote cabin in the Swan Hills wilderness.

The RCMP are tasked with getting the bird back.  They mount a search.  Nasur insists on being on the scene.  And the scene turns out to be Rosie’s trapping territory.

The events bring the three young people into contact with each other.  Each learns from the other and from the conflict into which they have been drawn.  And their coming together will lead each of them off in new directions…


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