The Land God Gave to Cain by Hammond Innes was the book that introduced the world of adult books to me when I was at school in the seventies. It was out class read when I was thirteen. Before that date I'd been still reading mainly the books from my childhood. This was the book that probably instilled my love of the adventure genre, although I still credit Enid Blyton for that 😉 After reading this book I wanted to read all Hammond Innes back catalogue. The story was electrifying and yet easy to read. From here I moved on to Nevil Shute, Bram Stoker, JRR Tolkien, Dick Francis and many many others. This was however my gateway book.
The main character is an unassuming man, working in engineering whose father dies. A radio ham, his father, is unable to speak and stand. Yet he spends his time 'talking' to other hams around the world. From his father's notes he believes that a party of surveyors in Labrador. So sure, is his conviction that his father was right, he boards a cargo plane to Canada to try to convince the authorities to restart the search.
I love the description in this book. Without being over flowery, it makes you feel the cold and wetness of the Labrador countryside. There's real determination in the characters that creates at times a terse atmosphere. Labrador seems a vast unexplored wilderness, which man has yet to tame. This is indeed the Land God gave to Cain.
I thought the book stood up well to modern eyes. The characters weren't grating. Ham radio may be a thing of the past, but this book is all about hope and communication over vast distances. A well written book that still has something to offer.