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Kings of the Yukon: A River Journey in Search of the Chinook

A stunning new voice in nature writing makes an epic journey along the Yukon River to give us the stories of its people and its protagonist--the king salmon, or the Chinook--and the deepening threat to a singular way of life, in a lyrical, evocative and captivating narrative.

The Yukon River is 3,190 kilometres long, flowing northwest from British Columbia through the Yukon Territory and Alaska to the Bering Sea. Every summer, millions of salmon migrate the distance of this river to their spawning ground, where they go to breed and then die. The Chinook is the most highly prized among the five species of Pacific salmon for its large size and rich, healthy oils. It has long since formed the lifeblood of the economy and culture along the Yukon--there are few communities that have been so reliant on a single source. Now, as the region contends with the effects of a globalized economy, climate change, fishing quotas and the general drift towards urban life, the health and numbers of the Chinook are in question, as is the fate of the communities that depend on them.

Travelling in a canoe along the Yukon River with the migrating salmon, a three-month journey through untrammeled wilderness, Adam Weymouth traces the profound interconnectedness of the people and the Chinook through searing portraits of the individuals he encounters. He offers a powerful, nuanced glimpse into the erosion of indigenous culture, and into our ever-complicated relationship with the natural world. Weaving in the history of the salmon run and their mysterious life cycle, Kings of the Yukon is extraordinary adventure and nature writing and social history at its most compelling.

Awards

  • 2019 Lonely Planet Adventure Travel Book of the Year Winner
  • 2018 Sunday Times/Peters Fraser + Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award 

Reviews
“Travel writing? Climate change? Here’s a book that does it all . . . He writes like Annie Dillard, Bruce Chatwin and Jack London combined: suspenseful and sensitive storytelling and sumptuous descriptions.” —National Observer

“Shift over, Pierre Berton and Farley Mowat. You, too, Robert Service. Set another place at the table for Adam Weymouth, who writes as powerfully and poetically about the Far North as any of the greats who went before him.” —Roy MacGregor, author of Original Highways: Travelling the Great Rivers of Canada

“A moving, masterful portrait of a river, the people who live on its banks, and the salmon that connect their lives to the land. It is at once travelogue, natural history, and a meditation on the sort of wildness of which we are intrinsically a part. Adam Weymouth deftly illuminates the symbiosis between humans and the natural world—a relationship so ancient, complex, and mysterious that it just might save us.” —Kate Harris, author of Lands of Lost Borders: Out of Bounds on the Silk Road

“I thoroughly enjoyed traveling the length of the Yukon River with Adam Weymouth, discovering the essential connection between the salmon and the people who rely upon them. What a joy it is to be immersed in such a remote and wondrous landscape, and what a pleasure to be in the hands of such a gifted narrator.” —Nate Blakeslee, author of The Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West

“Beautiful, restrained, uncompromising. The narrative pulls you eagerly downstream roaring, chuckling and shimmering just like the mighty Yukon itself.” —Ben Rawlence, author of City of Thorns

“An enthralling account of a literary and scientific quest. Adam Weymouth vividly conveys the raw grandeur and deep silences of the Yukon landscape, and endows his subject, the river’s King Salmon, with a melancholy nobility.” —Luke Jennings, author of Atlantic and Codename Villanelle

“Adam Weymouth's account of his canoe trip down the Yukon River is both stirring and heartbreaking. He ably describes a world that seems alternately untouched by human beings and teetering at the brink of ruin.” —David Owen, author of Where the Water Goes

Additional Information
288 pages | 5.18" x 8.00"