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Children's Fiction Survival Stories

The Emir's Falcon

by (author) Matt Hughes

Shadowpaw Press Premiere
Initial publish date
Sep 2022
Survival Stories, Nature & the Environment
Recommended Age
12 to 18
Recommended Grade
7 to 12
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2022
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


"She was raised to be free, not some rich man's pet . . . It's just not right!"

Bernie Cholach's dad wants him to take over the family's rural Alberta feedlot, but Bernie has other ideas: he wants to be a biologist, an interest sparked by his experiences as a volunteer bird handler at a Canadian Wildlife Service facility that breeds and rears peregrine falcons for release into the wild.

Sheik Nasur bin Mukhta, son of a Persian Gulf emir, studying petroleum engineering at the University of Alberta, dutifully accepts his life's course, laid out for him by his traditionalist culture.

Rosie Leboucan, daughter of a Métis trapper, running her injured dad's trap line in the Swan Hills, is focused on keeping a roof over their heads and food on the table.

Then the Government of Canada decides to give the emir one of the peregrines as a diplomatic gift. It's more than Bernie can stand. Impulsively, he takes the bird he has been tending-he's named it Skyrider-and flees to a remote cabin in the Swan Hills wilderness.

The RCMP mount a search. Nasur, sent by his father to collect the bird, insists on being on the scene-which turns out to be both Rosie's trapping territory and the territory of a hungry and dangerous mama grizzly bear with cubs.

The paths of the young people and the bear converge-and their coming together will send each in a new direction.

About the author

Originally from Liverpool, England, Hughes moved to Canada with his family when he was a boy, and struggled as one of Canada's many working poor. In his adolescence he served a year as a volunteer with the Company of Young Canadians. Later, university education was cut short, and he took a factory job making school desks, drove a grocery delivery truck, and for a time was a night janitor in a GM dealership and even worked as an orderly in a private psychiatric hospital. As an adult, he's plied the trade of writing first as a journalist, then as a staff speechwriter to the Canadian Ministers of Justice and Environment. From 1979 until a few years ago he worked as a freelance corporate and political speechwriter in British Columbia. He is a former director of the Federation of British Columbia Writers and used to belong to Mensa Canada. He says, "These days I'm conserving my energies to write fiction." He goes on to say, "I've been married to a very patient woman since the late 1960s, and I have three grown sons."At the moment Hughes and his wife are house-sitting in Greece, to be followed by a house-sit in Crete.Hughes is a member of the Crime Writers of Canada.

Matt Hughes' profile page

Editorial Reviews

"One peregrine falcon raised in a breeding facility, to be released into the wilds of northern Alberta. Three older teens from different cultures, their lives already mapped out by parental expectations. An impulsive action by one places that falcon at the crux of a potential international incident and brings all to the brink of catastrophe in the wilderness. A fascinating and insightful read." - Alison Lohans, author of Timefall, Don't Think Twice, and twenty-eight other books for young people and adults

The Emir’s Falcon is a rich story that soars with action, drama and detail. It raises important issues of cultural and environmental conflict and still entertains and surprises right to the last sentence.” - Arthur Slade, author of Dust, winner of the Governor General’s Award