Man in the Shadows Sheds Light on History

Former journalist and filmmaker Gordon Henderson’s first novel Man in the Shadows is a tremendously engaging historic novel about the assassination of D’Arcy McGee on April 7th, 1868.

Photo of Gordon courtesy of Jason van Bruggen.

To Canadian history buffs, the backstory is legendary: in 1867, three British colonies became the four provinces of the new Dominion of Canada. Among the Fathers of Confederation was D’Arcy McGee: a former Irish nationalist and a friend of Sir John A. McDonald. As the new country was forming, the Fenian Brotherhood, an Irish republican organization, advocated a forcible takeover of Canada by the United States, and threatened its security.

In Man in the Shadows, Henderson imagines a cross-border plot to assassinate key Canadian political figures in order to destabilize the new country. The book follows the fictional Conor O’Dea, a young Irish-Catholic man with political aspirations, who is also McGee’s assistant. O’Dea becomes romantically involved with a young Protestant woman, which then provokes violence. When someone who is believed to be a Fenian sympathizer tragically assassinates McGee, the young O’Dea takes matters into his own hands. O’Dea seeks to discover just who the real assassin is, and how he can prevent the Prime Minister from becoming the next victim.

A historical whodunit, Man in the Shadows will have you turning pages as you learn about an incredibly interesting time in Canadian history.