Part adventure, part love story, and part evocation of a world where violence and friendship form the bedrock of everyday life, Ballistics is a novel about family and infidelity, but also a meditation on the way we are bound to the past by the mythsMorePart adventure, part love story, and part evocation of a world where violence and friendship form the bedrock of everyday life, Ballistics is a novel about family and infidelity, but also a meditation on the way we are bound to the past by the myths we wrap around ourselves, and to the unforeseen future by acts we barely understand.Alan West has been raised by his grandfather, the only family he has ever known.
But when the gruff old man suffers a heart attack, he sends Alan on a mission to bring back his estranged father, Jack, who abandoned Alan as a baby. To fulfill what may be his grandfather’s dying wish, Alan will have to navigate the 2003 firestorms raging through British Columbia. Alan sets off with Puck, a three-legged English mastiff, and a boxful of photographs, newspaper clippings, and other items that once belonged to his father.
His quest takes him deep into the fires, and he encounters people from his past he never knew, including his mother and a dangerous American who haunts his family’s history in ways he comes to understand too late. Unbeknownst to Alan, he is travelling a path initiated years before, in 1969, by American veteran Archer Cole, who deserts the army rather than returning to Vietnam. Archer seeks shelter in Invermere, B.C., where he is given refuge by Alan’s grandfather- there, he tries to build a new life with his daughter, Linnea.
But as Archer grows close to the West family, he regrettably—though not altogether unwillingly—sets in motion events that will shatter both families and unleash a cycle of violence and longing that won’t come to a climax until decades later.