High Stakes 

ISBN Number: 

Curt Prescott is a professional gambler, touring the circuit of the annual spring poker tournaments in the States. Home though is Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. In 1877, Victoria is a booming Hudson's Bay Company trading-post.  While Curt has been gone a new preacher, Bud Andrews and his family have arrived in town. Bud's wife, Sarah is the head of the new "Moral Action Committee" designed to drive out the town's whores and gamblers. Determined to undermine the plans of these moral crusaders, Curt establishes a superficial friendship with the preacher. But all his schemes may unravel when he meets Mary, the sweet and pretty daughter, opposed to her mother's rigid religiosity.

 This is a well thought-out, layered historical, with evocative and vivid descriptions of life in the thriving, yet still lawless, nineteenth century Canadian town. 'High Stakes' is a historical that can be enjoyed by both male and female readers. Both Bud and Curt have their different agendas, each playing the other, and each using the innocent Mary. Bud uses his daughter to lure Curt hoping for his conversion as a way to winning others. Curt plans in turn to use Mary to discredit the Bible-thumpers and moralists and have them lose respect in the eyes of the community. This may have been a 5-star read except for the age of the hero, Curt. At nineteen years-old, his confidence, experience and respect he'd earned from the community, seemed implausible. Otherwise, this is a thoroughly enjoyable story and an incredibly accomplished first novel.


Jill MacKenzie