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Ampersand Indigenous Books

The Björkan Sagas
By (author): Harold R. Johnson



Product Form:


Form detail:

Printed dust jacket
Hardcover , Printed dust jacket


General Trade
Oct 05, 2021
$24.99 CAD


7.75in x 5 in | 0.71 lb

Page Count:

176 pages
House of Anansi Press Inc
House of Anansi Press
FICTION / Indigenous
  • Short Description

Drawing upon his Cree and Scandinavian roots, Harold R. Johnson merges myth, fantasy, and history in this epic saga of exploration and adventure.

Drawing upon his Cree and Scandinavian roots, Harold R. Johnson merges myth, fantasy, and history in this epic saga of exploration and adventure.

While sorting through the possessions of his recently deceased neighbour, Harold Johnson discovers an old, handwritten manuscript containing epic stories composed in an obscure Swedish dialect. Together, they form The Björkan Sagas.

The first saga tells of three Björkans, led by Juha the storyteller, who set out from their valley to discover what lies beyond its borders. Their quest brings them into contact with the devious story-trader Anthony de Marchand, a group of gun-toting aliens in search of Heaven, and an ethereal Medicine Woman named Lilly. In the second saga, Juha is called upon to protect his people from invaders bent on stealing the secrets contained within the valley’s sacred trees. The third saga chronicles the journey of Lilly as she travels across the universe to bring aid to Juha and the Björkans, who face their deadliest enemy yet.

The Björkan Sagas is a bold, innovative fusion of narrative traditions set in an enchanted world of heroic storytellers, shrieking Valkyries, and fire-breathing dragons.

  • Harold R. Johnson is the bestselling author of Firewater: How Alcohol Is Killing My People (and Yours) and an important voice in Indigenous literature.

  • The Bjorkan Sagas is at the forefront of positive, complex, and diverse Indigenous stories that exemplify the diversity of Indigenous cultures.

  • This book is a combination of Indigenous storytelling traditions and the sci-fi and fantasy genres.

HAROLD R. JOHNSON is the author of five works of fiction and five works of nonfiction, including Firewater: How Alcohol Is Killing My People (and Yours), which was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Nonfiction. Born and raised in northern Saskatchewan to a Swedish father and a Cree mother, Johnson served in the Canadian Navy and has been a miner, logger, mechanic, trapper, fisherman, tree planter, and heavy-equipment operator. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School and managed a private practice for several years before becoming a Crown prosecutor. Johnson is a member of the Montreal Lake Cree Nation. He is now retired from the practice of law and writes full time.


Winner, Saskatchewan Book Awards: University of Saskatchewan Non-Fiction Award

Finalist, Saskatchewan Book Awards: Rasmussen, Rasmussen & Charowsky Indigenous Peoples’ Writing Award

Clifford is a luminous, genre-bending memoir. Heartache and hardship are no match for the disarming whimsy, the layered storytelling shot through with love. The power of land, the pull of family, the turbulence of poverty are threads woven together with explorations of reality, tackling truth with a trickster slant.” — Eden Robinson, author of Son of a Trickster

Clifford is a story only Harold Johnson could tell. By turns soft and harsh, intellectual and emotional, Johnson weaves truth, fiction, science, and science fiction into a tapestry that is rich with meaning and maybes. A natural storyteller, Johnson seeks imagined pasts and futurity with equal parts longing and care. This work allows readers and writers the possibility of new and ancient modes of storytelling.” — Tracey Lindberg, author of Birdie

“The story’s meditations on loss, family, and fateful actions prove absorbing from the opening page.” — Toronto Star

“Harold R. Johnson is a wonderful writer, and Clifford is his best work yet. For fans of Jack Finney and Richard Matheson, this terrific book is a wonderfully human tale of memory both bitter and sweet, as well as a poignant exploration of time’s hold over all of us.” — Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo Award–winning author of Quantum Night

Clifford is unlike anything I’ve read — it is at once a story of science and magic, love and loss, and a case for the infinite potential of humanity. It is a book of profound wisdom — an unpacking of the deepest truths of science in an effort to transform the pain of grief and regret into healing and forgiveness.” — Patti Laboucane-Benson, author of The Outside Circle

Clifford is a glittering and haunting account of returning home to places and people long avoided, of finding peace in the knowledge that your atoms are wound into the walls of abandoned places, and of learning to say ‘I love you’ through the act of letting go.” — Foreword Reviews

“This is not your average memoir … [Johnson] sets out to honour his brother’s memory by writing this book, and ends up looking at what it is that gives life.” — Winnipeg Free Press

“A brilliant mix of realism and fantasy.” — London Free Press


Finalist, 2016 Governor General’s Literary Award for Nonfiction

“The book should be a bible in the fight for survival and recovery, for a better life for coming generations, and it should somehow be made available to band councils and urban community and friendship centres.” — First Nations Drum

“Johnson pointedly confronts the toll taken by alcohol … Written in the style of a kitchen-table conversation, Johnson’s personal anecdotes and perceptive analysis are a call to return to a traditional culture of sobriety … [a] well-argued case.” — Publishers Weekly

“This is an extraordinary memoir by a Cree writer who understands the damage alcohol does when used to kill the pain caused by white Canadians stealing and torturing Indigenous children throughout this nation’s history. I know many white alcoholics but it’s always ‘the drunk Indian.’ Why? Firewater is a great book; it burns in the hand.” — Toronto Star


Finalist, 2016 Saskatchewan Book Awards Aboriginal Peoples’ Writing Award

“An impassioned, formally innovative twist on the dystopian genre.” — Globe and Mail

“Johnson’s done some solid thinking about a world killing itself with its intellect while it denies its heart and soul in favour of more luxury goods” —

Saskatoon Star Phoenix

“Corvus pushes back … playing with the space between the real and the imagined, the organic and the alive, the human and the animal.” — Bull Calf Review

“Johnson fortifies the place of Indigenous peoples in his frightening dystopia, offering up Cree ways of knowing as key to the hyper-technological aspirations of continental North America. For that, Corvus is an important intervention into climate-based, futuristic sci-fi.” — Malahat Review

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