Sick Heart River
Publisher: Assembled Stories
Date: January 2013
Duration: 9 hours 40 minutes
Shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War Sir Edward Leithen is told that he has but one year left to live. He relinquishes his law practice and resigns from public office in order to make peace with himself and achieve a reconciliation with his Maker.
However, he also wants to die standing, not creep into the ‘bleak bag’s end of life.’ This will involve one last physical challenge.
An old friend, John Blenkiron, comes to him with a request: to find a young Canadian banker called Galliard, a man who, suffering from a personal crisis, has disappeared into the wilds of North-West Canada.
This task stretches Leithen and his gallant companions to the limits of their endurance and ends with him having to make a heartrending choice.
An indigenous tribe of Indians has gone into decline and need his help to save their race but the invigorating air of the region has begun to cure his condition.
Should he restore hope amongst the natives at the risk of his own life or return to England and enjoy an unexpected reprieve?
This was Buchans last novel, written when he himself was suffering from a terminal illness. More literary and introspective than his other adventure stories it has been acknowledged by some critics to be his best. Listeners will certainly be made aware of the immensity of the author’s heart and his sense of duty.