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Visions

by Eric Walters

Twins Rob and Mark aren’t thrilled about spending two weeks with their mother on King William Island in the Arctic as part of an expedition studying muskox. But the North casts its spell and draws the 12-year-olds into a web of supernatural happenings. The muskox seem to have completely disappeared and, exploring the island, Rob and Mark discover a human femur etched with mysterious markings. Soon afterward, they encounter Anarteq, an old Inuit man who seems to have appeared from nowhere. The boys become convinced that Anarteq is a spirit, especially after he almost magically makes the muskox return. Rob and Mark promise Anarteq a favour in return for his aid and help put to rest the spirits of three crewmen from the lost Franklin expedition of 1845.

Visions, the latest from the prolific Eric Walters, is a complex, multi-layered novel that addresses a number of issues relevant to teens, including the twins’ grief over their father’s death and their resentment of their mother’s involvement with a new man. But the emotional resolution in the book’s final pages is probably the least satisfying element in the book.

Teen readers will be most interested in the supernatural aspects of Visions and the juxtaposition of contemporary horror fiction and Stephen King-type movies with traditional Inuit myths and legends. Walters weaves a number of Inuit stories into the narrative, which he says in an author’s note are intended to open a window to Inuit culture. Unfortunately, he provides no sources for the stories, a small shortcoming that probably won’t concern teens, but that somewhat undermines his good intentions.