Life Threatened


This third book in the Pillage Trilogy was intended to be the last so here Delbert and Sylvia are flying off into the sunset. At first, I thought it would be hard to find enough for them to do but adventures kept showing up.

I’ve heard the comment that Sylvia fades into the background in Two Loves Sought and can see why that opinion is justified. Well, she comes roaring back in this volume. In fact, she and Cynthia share the spotlight. Cynthia graduates from medical school in Chapter 2 and decides to spend her intern year in Campbell River on Vancouver Island. With Delbert’s increasing independence, Sylvia went back to college and became a Public Health Nurse, ready to challenge the needs of isolated villages on Vancouver Island and further up the coast. They might not seem so isolated today but they certainly were in the 1960’s.

Delbert’s flying boat plays a central role throughout the book and he remains a significant part of the action, which moves from lower Vancouver Island to the northern end, fanning out from Campbell River. If one looks at Google’s satellite imagery of the region north and west of Campbell River, it will appear laced with a network of roads. Most are logging roads, some of which have been made public to give access to remote villages and settlements. Few of them existed fifty years ago and fewer yet allowed public travel.

The mainland terrain to the north is particularly rugged, often with steep slopes piercing directly into the ocean. I once left Campbell River in a standard Cessna 185 without floats. Fifteen minutes into the flight, this terrain devoid of any possibility of ditching in the event of an engine failure caused a queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. Intimidated, I did a one-eighty and headed back to more welcoming civilization.

In the story, Delbert must takeoff from a mountain lake that could look like this:

That’s why it is now on the cover. And the location and forcing event are reflected on this map:


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