ANNA, LIKE THUNDER
In 1808, eighteen-year-old Anna Petrovna Bulygina is aboard the Russian ship St. Nikolai when it runs aground on the west coast of Washington State on the Olympic Peninsula. The crew, tasked with trading for sea otter pelts and exploring the coast, are forced to shore into Quileute territory, where they are captured, enslaved, and then traded among three Indigenous nations. Terrified at first, Anna soon discovers that nothing—including slavery—is what she expected. She begins to question Russian imperialist aspirations, the conduct of the crew, and her own beliefs and values as she experiences a way of life she never could have imagined.
Based on historical record, Anna, Like Thunder blends fact and fiction to explore the early days of contact between Indigenous people and Europeans off the west coast of North America and offers a fresh interpretation of history.
Published by Brindle & Glass, 2018.
The Russian edition was published by Text Publishers, Moscow, in 2021.
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Anna, Like Thunder Reviews
“An intimate engagement with a little-known ghost of North American history and memory.”
—Jaspreet Singh, author of Helium and November
“A beautifully rendered and intimate tale of loss, discovery and redemption, Anna, Like Thunder takes readers into the heart of North American west coast Indigenous culture: the forests, beaches and ocean that embrace and sustain them. Peggy Herring writes so seamlessly that I felt like I was Russian Anna Bulygina, learning to dry salmon, following a wolf to safety, or confronting the tragic consequences of my colonial heritage on the people who’ve kept me alive and befriended me.”
—Ann Eriksson, author of The Performance
“The novel transcends the written record to provide insight into the shifting universe of human experience. Recommended.”
—Susan McDuffie, Historical Novels Review
“A robust account of contact. Because the author goes beyond the typical boundaries for such narratives, this book’s historical imagining is more political than one might expect.”
—Anson Ching, Geist
“Herring makes it clear that issues of what we know, how we know it, and what our minds can be open to, are all key, not just to this story and the era of contact, but to ongoing relationship-building between peoples.”
—Amy Reiswig, Focus Magazine
“This work of fiction encourages us to imagine tribal life before the intrusive encounters with Europeans and trade items. It’s a chance to consider that first incident of contact, 200 years ago, when the Indigenous peoples were in charge.”
—Jay Powell, Bayak/The Talking Raven
“Herring weaves fact and fiction in this fascinating page turner.”
—Tracy Fockler, In the Hills
“Does not disappoint.”
—Daniela Barrera, Broken Pencil
“Kept me wanting to know just how the story ended.”
—Ellie Woods, Seattle Book Review