TWO MEN, ONE RIVER
By R.L. Manson
Research by Tady Saczkowski
FriesenPress, September, 2017
Begin with 1918 Niagara-on-the-lake: its opulence and extravagance, the actors and the elite, the tennis and golf and lawn bowling, and the promise of a fantastical amusement park lifestyle. The region is thriving. Sir Adam Beck is building the world’s largest hydro power station. Nikola Tesla has found a way to make electricity accessible to all of humanity. And a man named King Camp Gillette has developed plans for a futuristic utopian society that would have the mighty Niagara River as its lifeblood.
Add two men with special abilities and powerful incentives. Jack Saunders is a troubled veteran of the First World War who desperately wants to make a good life for his beloved wife and friends, but his addictions and impulsive behaviour keep turning his noble intentions into disaster.
Aaron O’Malley is an affluent business owner who sees that the region is on the verge of an evolution, one that he must cultivate for his personal gain. But O’Malley needs Jack. He preys upon his vulnerability and draws him into an ambitious scheme that he claims will bring wealth and power beyond their wildest dreams. History is about to change, and Jack is the key to its outcome.
"The city spreads for miles in all directions, north and south of the falls, and to the east and west on both sides of the border. It is an impossible marvel, something that cannot have been built by people of Jack’s time. And yet he can see it, as clearly as if it were really there…"
"'Look at the river. Think about the power of the falls themselves. Sense it.'
He could indeed feel the power of the river in his blood, a natural force that dwarfed all the man-made generating stations they had seen that day.
'Jack, hydraulics experts say that the full potential of the falls is over eight million horsepower.'
And then it became clear: O’Malley wanted it all."