Fire on Headless Mountain (Hardcover)

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Fire on Headless Mountain (Hardcover)


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Staff Reviews

Terrific, page-turner for adventurous readers who aren't sure if Sasquatch is real, and who want a contemporary family drama about 3 sibling campers on a quest in the unforgiving mountain & forest landscape when disaster strikes. Seriously addictive!

(Juvenile Fiction, ages 9+) 

— From Staff Picks by Maureen

Separated from his siblings in the midst of a dangerous forest fire, 11-year-old Virgil must find a way to survive using only his wits and the lessons his late mother taught him about the wilderness.

Virgil is making his older siblings trek to a mountain lake on a trip unlike any they’ve have taken before. They carry precious cargo: the ashes of their beloved mother, who asked that her remains be scattered at her favorite spot. But when a forest fire is sparked by a bolt of lightning at the exact moment when their van breaks down, the journey quickly turns to disaster.
While the oldest, Josh, is gone to find help, Virgil and his sister, Kaitlyn, spot fleeing animals and soon see flames flickering above the tree line. Once the sky begins to darken with the haze of burning timber, Virgil finds himself separated from his sister and left alone in the wilderness. He isn’t sure he can make it, but with the memory of his late mother, a science teacher, and all her lessons to guide him, he quickly learns that not everything has a perfect explanation and survival starts with letting go.
Fire on Headless Mountain showcases not only the overwhelming beauty and terrifying power of nature, but also the gift of memory when facing great emotional and physical trials. Lessons on ecosystems and fire safety are also seamlessly interwoven into this thrilling adventure tale.
“Lawrence, the Canadian writer whose High Seas Trilogy encompassed three chilling historical novels, now offers a menacing, contemporary tale of dread, danger, and revenge. Portraying family dynamics and middle-school antics with equal insight and attention to detail, Igor’s first-person narrative is absorbing.”–Booklist

 “Featuring effective worldbuilding, this is a great, suspenseful tale of terror for upper middle graders”.–School Library Journal

“Friendship difficulties provide a contrast and an anchor to the terrifying threat, and the various plot elements are deftly tied together in a fitting twist that will have readers quickly turning the pages. Filled with suspense and intrigue."–Kirkus Reviews
Iain Lawrence once had a summer job fighting forest fires on Vancouver Island. He is the author of seventeen novels for young readers that have received such accolades as Canada’s Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature and the California Young Reader Medal. Among the many books he has written are The Wreckers, Ghost Boy, Lord of the Nutcracker Men, The Skeleton Tree, and most recently Deadman’s Castle. He lives in the Gulf Islands, British Columbia. Visit him at

Product Details ISBN: 9780823446544
ISBN-10: 0823446549
Publisher: Margaret Ferguson Books
Publication Date: August 23rd, 2022
Pages: 256
Language: English
"This page-turning and atmospheric adventure story also teaches fascinating science skills. . . . A superb tale of survival and courage."—Kirkus Reviews

"[A] richly imaginative survival adventure. . . . the unrelenting drama of their immediate peril makes for a nail-biting read, sure to satisfy fans of Paulsen's Hatchet." —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Vividly wrought, scientifically grounded text layers facts to develop the protagonists' plight. . . . Lawrence (Deadman's Castle) draws from his experience fighting forest fires; that expertise informs harrowing descriptions of the out-of-control blaze, creating an elucidating and hopeful portrait of grief amid the natural world."—Publishers Weekly