Like its hero, this novel is full of energy! Iberville sets sail and takes us into a world of adventures that no longer exists.
Author Magali Favre says it, and no historian will contradict her: Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville, great defender of New France, is an ideal hero of a novel.
We are even astonished that this Iberville did not inspire writers more, because there is in him material to nourish many books – like the television series which had been devoted to him at the end of the years. 60. Albert Millaire, who embodied him, moreover left an imperishable image to the viewers of the time.
But since then, d’Iberville has been forgotten, if we except the novel Corsaire d’Hiver by Jean-Marc Beausoleil, published in 2019.
Magali Favre wanted to shake off this indifference. To do this, she chose to take us through the entire life of d’Iberville, from his early childhood until his death in Havana on the eve of his 45th birthday.
Technically, this novel is aimed at teenagers, but it is so well documented – the author has read everything about it – that it will delight the general public.
Fans of psychology will however pass their turn: we are here in the action, and it is already huge, so much there is no shortage.
D’Iberville is the oldest of the Lemoynes, and with his large siblings, all born in New France, he made it his mission to fight the English who wanted to conquer this new country.
In addition, the heart of North America is a land contested by the Western powers of the time. Again, d’Iberville led the troops and gave the charge on behalf of the King of France.
It is a world of battles, therefore cruel, but also of alliances with the indigenous peoples – because d’Iberville intends to occupy the territory in good harmony with them. After all, the common enemy is the Englishman with black designs. Out of nuance, and in war as in war!
Traces of a giant
Favre did not seek to rewrite history to make it conform to our analyzes of the 21st century. Thus, she uses the word Savages to speak of the natives because that was the common expression then, and the women pass like shadows.
And then, it is not a portrait of society that it is a question of drawing, but of surveying an immense and implacable territory, that the author makes us admirably feel.
We will therefore freeze with Iberville’s troops in James Bay, which does not prevent them from fighting boldly there, just as we will fight on snowshoes in the corner of Albany.
Conversely, the mission that Louis XIV entrusted to d’Iberville in 1698 to find the mouth of the Mississippi will lead him to overwhelming tropical lands. But d’Iberville, who has never lost a battle against the English and who is as robust as he is cunning, will know how to adapt.
This is also the most compelling part of the story. This almost French America was well and truly defended by a giant.