Click here
to view cover.

© 2001 Irwin Wolfe
ISBN 1-93120-744-5

Click here to
order book.







Val David,

The Shockwaves

Destination: Ste.

Le Genéral

Maitres Chez Nous;
Laval Makes His Move








Armored Trucks,
All In A Row

Gentlemen of
the Cabinet

The Troika

Laval and
the President

The Die Is Cast




Chapter 1: Val David, 1942

  Memories of summers past flooded Izzy's head as he approached the old, decaying wooden train station. It had stood proudly in Val David atop a hillock, which sloped gently toward the gravel country road winding alongside the white-water rapids and the dilapidated sawmill. The buzz-saws had been silenced years ago, their whine now replaced by the rapid-fire thuds of carpenters' hammers. They were boarding up the station. They were also closing out a chapter in Izzy's life.
    As his pulse quickened, Izzy fought the urge to cry out. He would stop them if he could, but it was all beyond his control. He was consumed by memories of that scene, almost 50 years earlier, during the early stages of World War II.
    Out of the chill of that August night came the cars, driven by the draft-dodging denizens who were native to the Laurentian Mountains. Jew-haters all; the wood-cutters, the truck drivers, the laborers, the farmers.
    The line of cars stretched all the way back to the train station and continued to Le Chateau David, their staging area, the "No Jews or Dogs" sign prominently displayed over the portico.
Back To Excerpt Menu?

Chapter 5: The Shockwaves Spread

  Chaim Goldsteins's wholesale dry goods emporium was the repository of all knowledge on The Main. . . . . Goldstein was holding court one day. A few retailers and peddlers, some customers, others merely visitors who had dropped by to kibbitz, had gathered around a few bolts of cloth to listen to Goldstein and to argue and debate with him. A Wasp textile salesman had come by a half-hour earlier on a sales call. Goldstein, who intended doing some heavy buying that day, quickly ushered the salesman to the back room for a schnaps. No main street jobber in search of a good buy was without a back room in his store -- well supplied with the best liquors.   . . . . . Goldstein, astride a bale of cotton, was warming to his audience. The topic under discussion, as often as not lately, was the FLQ and the separatists. Goldstein was a chain smoker, not of Canadian or American cigarettes, but of some horrible-smelling Russian papyrus or French Gauloise cigarettes. Foul as the odor was, it added something to the atmosphere, thought Izzy, as he looked for the cracker barrel and pot bellied-stove.
    Goldstein rolled up his sleeve, revealing the indelible serial number the Nazis had tattooed on his arm. His eyes reddened from the smoke rising from the burning papyrus clenched between his lips. The eye glasses perched at the tip of his nose never quite protected him from the smoke, which, momentarily, came to rest against his eye-glass lenses but which would inexorably continue around the lenses, along his nose and find his eyes, there to burn them to the point of tears. But Goldstein always relentlessly puffed away, never thinking to remove the cigarette to relieve the burning in his eyes. On the contrary, the stinging in his eyes drove Goldstein to greater loquaciousness. He grew more argumentative and waxed philosophic. Berl, himself a survivor of a Nazi death camp, braced himself to pick up the debating challenge. He always knew when to tackle Goldstein.
Back To Excerpt Menu?

Chapter 9: Destination: Ste. Marguerite

  Robitaille followed Morin's car to the LeGrand farm in St. Donat. He negotiated the hairpin turn leading onto the property with only minimal difficulty. The farmhouse sat atop a hillock, about 50 yards from the tortuous secondary road which lead them onto the property. The barn housing the two Model-A Fords was a meteorological phenomenon, as it was when LeGrand was growing up. His father never needed a weather vane to tell which way the wind was blowing. He had only to check which way the barn leaned. But it still stood, with nary a nail holding it together. Fitted wooden joints was the way they built things then. Some 200 feet below, in a tiny valley, at the end of another tortuous road, stood five bungalows, which the old man LeGrand still rented to vacationing tourists. But this was early in October and they stood empty, boarded up for their hibernal sleep. The hoarfrost hovering over the small man-made lake was further evidence of the approaching winter.
Back To Excerpt Menu?

Chapter 12: Le Genéral (1959)

   It was a blustery, bitter cold night in the capitol. Quebec City had not seen the thermometer rise above zero in five days. It was February and that meant Winter Carnival time in the storied old city. A couple of blocks away, over near the Plains of Abraham, where 200 years earlier the British defeated the French and grabbed Canada for king and empire, English and French were boozing it up and playing at the usual games.
    Nearby, hard by the banks of the St. Lawrence River, stood the Chateau Frontenac, bedecked in all her historical and matronly splendor. General Wolfe had scaled the heights of the Quebec ramparts somewhere near this spot. He had an appointment with General Montcalm and destiny. .............A block away, atop the Premier's home, fully extended in the wind, was one lonely Fleur de Lys, the Union Jack nowhere in sight. The bachelor inhabitant thus made a continuous political statement: "Ottawa, stay out of Quebec life." ..............Here lay the reins of power in the Province of Quebec. The old bastard, Le Genéral, had held onto them tightly for some 20 years. But the old Jew-hating fascist was about to let go. Power was about to slip away from him. So was his life. That was the only way to separate Guy Larivière from power in Quebec.
Back To Excerpt Menu?

Chapter 15: Maitres Chez Nous; Laval Makes His Move (1960)

  Brossage and Laval were a study in contrasts. Brossage was an imposing figure -- six feet tall, fairly heavy set, broad-framed and clothed in Ottawa pin-stripe blue. He exuded sartorial splendor. Standing side-by-side, they resembled Mutt and Jeff or the Prince and the Pauper.
 Laval was clad in the working journalist's uniform -- from his slip-on shoes to his slacks and sports jacket. His tattered coat lent just the right touch to this diminutive, intense man. It all appeared to be in keeping with some sort of script. The conservative, established, suave politician who would probably guide Quebec for the next several years, alongside this journalistic jangle of nerves known as Laval. Despite his size, despite his dress, Laval seemed to personify Quebec on the move. Brossage's keen political antenna told him so. It was the stuff political deals are made of.
Back To Excerpt Menu?

Chapter 28: H.M.S. Brittania

  This woman was the P.M.'s mistress, until he chose to make some official announcement about marriage plans. ............The P.M. concluded it would be best to leave sleeping ladies lie. ...............As broadminded as Canadians were about such things, he chose not to push his luck. ............When the lady awoke, she and the P.M. had breakfast together, said their goodbyes and she slipped out quietly. ...........The mounties on duty at the residence cleared several blocks of traffic before she drove through the gates. She aimed her car for Montreal and never looked back.
    The P.M. returned to his desk and tried to draft a few more lines of his Bilingualism and Bicultural Bill. .............The hour was still very early in the morning. Her Majesty's Ship Brittania, the royal yacht, was in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Havre St. Pierre to starboard and Anticosti Island to port. While Her Majesty slept in her regal quarters, the captain was roused from his cabin and summoned to the bridge to supervise the crew as it navigated the thin fog which shrouded their watery path. It was common to encounter much thicker fog on the St. Lawrence at this time of day. . . . . . The fog lifted as the Brittania plied it's way upriver. By the time it drew abreast of Sept Isles, there was clear sailing. The voyage had been uneventful and continued so, which was precisely what all aboard the Brittania had expected. There was total ignorance of the fateful rendezvous awaiting the ship.
Back To Excerpt Menu?

Chapter 34: Armored Trucks, All In A Row

  Goldstein and his friends cocked an ear toward the radio as the Prime Minister continued: "Mr. Speaker, by virtue of the legislation I have today placed before the House of Commons for its consideration, Her Majesty is asking for the support of the assembled members in her invocation of the War Measures Act. By the powers vested in me as Her Majesty's first minister in the Dominion Of Canada, I may, unilaterally, impose the War Measures Act. However, this administration prides itself in supporting democratic principles. I therefore ask you, Mr. Speaker, to call for a show of hands in support of my resolution to invoke the War Measures Act."
Back To Excerpt Menu?

Chapter 38: Gentlemen of the Cabinet

  Laval removed his sport coat as he entered his office with Leger and Castonguay in tow and threw it onto a nearby sidechair. It came to rest in a crumpled heap, fairly closely matching its owner's perpetually gnarled and quizzical expression. Laval sat down heavily in his high-backed, leather swivel chair, leaned back, turned slightly and propped his feet atop his desk, as had been his custom through his years in editorial offices. He lit another cigarette, dragged heavily and stared at Leger and Castonguay. He waited a moment for the customary haze of smoke to rise between himself and his two invited guests and then began to speak. Rarely did one ever get a clear view of Laval's visage. It was generally only a spectral image masked by a cloud of smoke.
Back To Excerpt Menu?

Chapter 39: The Troika

  The Quebec-government limousine bearing the Troika, chauffeur and three bodyguards pointedly flew only one flag as it turned into the long, circular driveway leading up to the main entrance of the Canadian Parliament Buildings, at the base of the imposing clock tower. With each flap of the Fleur de Lys in the wintry Ottawa wind, Laval made a political statement. Although the Maple Leaf and Union Jack still flew from the Quebec Parliament Buildings, Laval deliberately chose to violate protocol during this, his first trip to Ottawa since winning power. Laval would get around to the Maple Leaf and Union Jack -- all in good time. But first things first. This was his official car and he used it and the Fleur de Lys to make this small statement about where Quebec was headed. He could not pass up the opportunity to approach the Parliament of Canada and fly only the Fleur de Lys, while being greeted and saluted by the R.C.M.P. The mounties did look smart, even Laval had to admit it, their scarlet red coats and highly polished brown riding boots standing out in bold relief against the heavy cover of snow.
Back To Excerpt Menu?

Chapter 52: Laval and the President

  Laval eagerly accepted the President's offer to come to the White House to discuss the problem. Recognition on the world stage, finally. Precisely what Laval wanted. He would show the people of Quebec that even though the Prime Minister ignored them, the President of the United States was willing to pay attention and listen to Quebec's case.
     The President dished it all up as a formal affair of state. He sent Air Force One, his own jetliner, to Quebec City to fetch Laval and his colleagues. Not that Laval did not have his own aircraft -- a turboprop-executive-twin-engine operated for him by Quebecair, the government-owned airline. But Air Force One! Holy Cow! How does one top that?
     Ancienne Lorrette Airport, located just outside of Quebec City, had not been so honored in many years. Not since Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill arrived there for their Quebec City meeting with Prime Minister Mackenzie King. Here was Pierre Laval, a kid from the Gaspé, a French-Canadian, one of their own, about to board the jet aircraft of the President of the United States! The President had personally seen to all the arrangements. His helicopter waited at Dulles International Airport to ferry The Troika to the White House.
Back To Excerpt Menu?

Chapter 54: The Die Is Cast

   "Mr. President," said Laval, "we have for a long time wanted to be independent and have been working in that direction. Furthermore, the banking freeze has, I think, increased the number of Quebecers who are sympathetic to independence. Now they know just how much money leaves Quebec to go to Toronto and New York. It was a good time to strike. But, above all else, Mr. President, the most crucial reason was the result of the referendum on independence. The final count was pretty damn close to my way of thinking -- 57 percent against and 43 percent for. And the English, les maudits Anglais, are the ones who made the difference. Their unanimous vote against independence made the difference. I could not let the English vote stand in the way of the destiny of Quebec. The goddamned English. They are not true Quebecers. So why worry!"
Back To Excerpt Menu?

Chapter 56: Congress

  The President had left orders to especially watch for signs of the formation of some sort of military capability in Quebec. . . . . . The President was particularly disturbed now in light of the disintegrated Canadian Parliament. Nobody was minding the store north of the U.S. border. The nation that was Canada, so long so reliable, was no more. The P.M. was himself staying at 24 Sussex Drive, unwilling to risk re-entry to Quebec and unwilling to leave his official residence, lest he extinguish what little hope there might be for Canada to regain its senses. He continued to wear a red rose in his lapel, a fresh rose each day. The symbolism was not lost on the reporters.
Back To Excerpt Menu?

Chapter 57:Transubstantiation

  "General, this is the President. Order the Sea Wolf from her base at Dalhousie. I want a slow, submerged approach toward Quebec City. I'll stay in touch."  . . . . The following morning, at 10 o'clock, precisely as planned, the President climbed the steps to the rostrum in the House of Representatives. As he had requested, the full House and Senate were in attendance. . . . . . The President checked on the position of the Sea Wolf. "She is off Riviere du Loup," answered the General, "still submerged, Mr. President, as you ordered."
    "Thank you, General. Order the Sea Wolf to increase her speed one-third."........."General, this is the President. Order the Sea Wolf to move at full speed." ......."General Overmeyer reporting, Mr. President. The Sea Wolf is opposite Quebec City. Standing by for orders, Mr. President."

 Back To Excerpt Menu?