The Darkening Archipelago
The Second Cole Blackwater Mystery
“Legault tells a story that is fast-paced and rich, revealing just enough to keep our eye following the ball under the cup.” — Monday Magazine
The Darkening Archipelago is the second book in the Cole Blackwater Mystery Series. Set amid the convoluted knot of islands known as the Broughton Archipelago, on British Columbia’s jagged mid-coast, the novel joins the often heated debate over salmon farming and the demise of wild salmon stocks.
Eight months after a harrowing brush with death in Oracle, Alberta in series’ first book The Cardinal Divide, Cole returns to his dark and sometimes violent life in Vancouver. While Cole and newspaper reporter Nancy Webber were able to unravel the primary mystery surrounding the brutal murder of Mike Barnes, the manger of the coal mine destined to destroy the fabulous Cardinal Divide, greater mysteries remain. For Cole, the dark secret that surrounds his father’s untimely death in the family barn while Cole was visiting for the first time in twenty years drives him further and further into his seething rage. For Nancy Webber, who unwillingly finds that long forgotten feelings for Cole rise to the surface again, getting to the bottom of Cole’s family history becomes both a professional and personal obsession.
Now Cole has learned that his good friend and former client Archie Ravenwing has gone missing and is presumed drowned in a storm in the Broughton Archipelago, where he was a salmon fisherman and elder in the tiny First Nations community of Port Lostcoast. Cole flies to Port Lostcoast for a traditional potlatch to celebrate Archie’s life, and soon learns that his friend was unraveling a troubling mystery surrounding an outbreak of a particularly virulent strain of sea lice. These tiny parasites are a direct result of massive salmon farming operations in the Broughton Archipelago, and the strain that Archie had discovered could spell the end of wild salmon along the BC coast.
Cole and others in the community of Port Lostcoast begin to wonder if Archie really was swept overboard in a spring storm, or if his death may in fact be linked to his troubling discovery. In a community rife with suspects who wanted Archie out of the way of “progress” Cole must face his own dark demons while confronting the mystery of his friend’s untimely demise.
In the end it’s a race against time: to save an innocent whose own knowledge of the mystery of the Broughton Archipelago puts her in mortal danger; to unravel the secrets that Cole holds locked in his heart about the night of this father’s violent death; and to save the wild salmon who are like an electric current bringing life to an entire ecosystem. The Darkening Archipelago is a race to keep both human souls and wild ecosystems from falling into unending darkness.