It’s spring, 1963 in the “Nickel Capital of the World.” Nineteen-year-old Jake McCool is about to undergo a rite of passage—his first shift underground in a hard rock mine. But the Cold War is at its height, and Jake is also about to become a reluctant participant in a bitter interunion battle fueled by the global struggle between two ideologies in the wake of the Second World War. So is his girlfriend, Jo Ann Winters. Together the couple are swept up in a web of intrigue; at its center is a terrible secret that will haunt their relationship for the rest of their lives, as their hometown becomes not only one of the world’s greatest hard rock mining centers, but also the epicenter of the Cold War in North America. In this fast-paced novel set against the little-known historical backdrop of a true-life battle that included vicious beatings, riots, and worse, author Mick Lowe posits a provocative premise: that the U.S. government sponsored a ruthless covert operation to destabilize a strategic community in the heartland of its closest ally, Canada.
In this story of eco-resistance based on actual events in the heart of Canada's Nickel Range, Jake McCool, the injured hardrock miner, returns to work for the International Nickel Company (INCO) but now at its nearby Copper Cliff smelter complex. In no time, Jake finds himself embroiled in a vicious fight over health and safety and, more specifically, over the extreme levels of sulphur dioxide that poison the air in the smelter but also in the entire surrounding area. The fight takes on new dimensions as freelance reporter Foley Gilpin sparks interest at Canada's national daily Globe & Mail and as local parliamentarian Harry Wardell smells the collusion between INCO and the highest levels of Ministry of Natural Resources at Queen's Park in Toronto.