Novel: Counter Currents

The opposing currents of romance and war flirt with Ryan Lone Pine. As he struggles to reconcile his family history, his duty and his heart, he stands to either win the woman he loves, die on the noose, or toil a lifetime in a distant penal colony.

In 1838, Bill Johnston and the Patriot War dominate the news and gripped the hearts and minds of people living on both sides of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. It is in this turbulent year and undeclared border war that Counter Currents unfolds. (This novel contains adult content. For a family friendly version, see Islands of Love and War.)

It's a story about smugglers, river pirates, romance, war, and freedom fighters. It takes place in the same region and era as most of the posts on our affiliated history blog and includes many of the same characters.

Counter Currents, published in March 2012, received the 2013 silver medal for Historical Literature Fiction from Global Ebook Awards.

Counter Currents received a five-star rating, the highest, by Internet book reviewer, Sharon Cathcart in May 2013. The reviews page lists other positive reviews.

For a visual description of the book, visit the Counter Currents Pinterest board.
Novel Cover

Available in Paperback or as an Ebook

Counter Currents is available in paperback and as an ebook on all popular ereaders. Most online vendors let you read the first 10% of the novel before your decide to buy it.


Spanning 1837 to 1845, most scenes are set against the beauty and grandeur of the Thousand Islands during the drama of the Patriot War in 1838. That year, rebels attacked Canada 11 times from the USA. Among the raiders was the legendary Bill Johnston.

Ryan is just 19 when he arrives alone in Canada. He spends his first summer with a family of displaced Algonquins, learning to live off the land. They give Ryan a new name, Lone Pine.

As winter approaches in late 1837, Ryan canoes to Kingston just as the colonies rise up in rebellion. The grandson of an Irish rebel, he avoids involvement--at first. Ryan leaves Kingston to escape compulsory militia duty and spends the winter in an abandoned cabin in the Thousand Islands with his pet raven for company.

In the spring, Ryan canoes to Clayton, New York, to trade furs. He meets Bill Johnston, Johnston’s family, and many fellow smugglers and rebels. (Johnston, a smuggler, river pirate, and War-of-1812 American privateer, was so feared that the British in the 19th-century Canadian colonies called out the army every time his name made the newspapers.)

Johnston schools Ryan in the smuggler's ways and coaxes him to join the Hunters Lodge, a militant secret society dedicated to the overthrow of the British in Canada. Ryan’s first taste of violence is a midnight raid on a private steamer, the Sir Robert Peel. Johnston, Ryan, and a dozen others attack the ship, remove the passengers and crew, and then loot and burn it.

Johnston spends the summer hiding from a massive US and British force sent to find him. Ryan continues smuggling, while Johnston's 18-year-old daughter, Kate, runs supplies to her fugitive father. Independent, fearless and beautiful, locals called Kate the Queen of the Thousand Islands.

That summer, Kate and Ryan fall in love. Ryan is coached by Kate’s older cousin Ada on how to best capture Kate’s heart. Over time, Ada develops feelings for Ryan. Ryan, in turn, struggles with his attraction to Ada.

Each step Ryan takes closer to a peaceful life as Kate’s husband is matched by deeper entanglement in a glorious but lost cause.

The story builds on real events surrounding the Patriot War and stays close to historic facts. It is history illuminated by fiction.

Tags: #HistoricalFiction #Adventure #HistoricalRomance #CdnHistory #AmericanHistory

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Counter Currents