Tom Thomson’s Last Bonfire


In this novel Geoff Taylor tells the story of two veteran guides are fishing on an Algonquin summer morning when they pull Tom Thomson’s waterlogged corpse from Canoe Lake. Taking him to a remote island, they stand vigil over their friend around the clock. The events of the next twenty-four hours have fuelled the speculation and intrigue surrounding Tom’s life and untimely demise for more than a century.

What readers are saying about Last Bonfire

Geoff  I purchased a signed copy of your book recently at the Stone Fence Theatre’s production of, Tom Thomson & The Colours of Canada… I am SAVOURING EVERY SENTENCE!!! I love the detail of every character, and of the era! I have been “a fan” of Tom Thomson for 20+ years. My intrigue began when I took care of a lady in my nursing home, who ACTUALLY met him! Her family lived next door to the Trainor’s in Huntsville!  I too, as do many others, have a deep adoration for the beauty of the Ottawa Valley. My late husband, whom I lost suddenly, was a true bush man in every sense of the word, and our time together, brought me into the woods, on so many occasions….your book, has given me something to cling to; a warm feeling, causing me to cherish, even more, the beauty I have been blessed to know, in this amazing area, we call home….. THANK YOU! ❤️
PS I hope you are working on another book!

ISBN: 978-1-77257-159-2 (PB)

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Additional information

Weight .460 kg
Dimensions 22.86 × 15.24 × 1.25 cm

10 reviews for Tom Thomson’s Last Bonfire

  1. Tiffany Yemen

    “Inspired by his own experiences in Algonquin as well as his acute historical intuition, Geoff Taylor’s book presents a truly novel version of events surrounding the mystery of Tom Thomson’s death. Taylor reveals a time and place reeling from the psychic and physical trauma of the Great War still raging in Europe. With the passing of the great age of lumber, a way of life in the Canadian north was ending. His characters (all historical) are vivid, painted in broad, colourful strokes by his meticulously informed insight into each. Some would not be out of place in a Mark Twain novel. The book is in part a memorial to a complex and controversial icon of Canadian history but also a lens into a culture and time forgotten, a dark and riveting era of Canada’s past, now woken into life again by Taylor’s story”
    Jeff Janoda
    Author of “Saga: A Novel of Medieval Iceland”

  2. Tiffany Yemen

    “A good story has the power to bring people together. To think, discuss and even argue. Tom Thomson is Canada’s greatest mystery and in this story Taylor unearths and dissects many intriguing questions about his life and his end. Answers are easy, even lazy but good questions? They can make you lose yourself forever.”
    Dale Curd Host CBC’s Hello / Goodbye

  3. Tiffany Yemen

    “Art, wilderness and passion are provocative bed partners; Taylor knits the three together beautifully. A paddler’s perspective of Algonquin Park’s enduring mystery.”
    Hap Wilson (Temagami Canoe Routes)

  4. Tiffany Yemen

    “A great read to pull out of a canoe pack.”
    Kevin Callan (a.k.a. The Happy Camper)

  5. Tiffany Yemen

    “No one owns the Tom Thomson story. Nor does anyone truly know what happened among the several intertwined mysteries. I like to think the mystery is Canada’s to play with and be forever entertained. Geoff Taylor’s Tom Thomson’s Last Bonfire is a welcome new addition to the family of Tom mysteries. It’s a fine read that raised some intriguing possibilities.”
    Roy MacGregor

  6. Tiffany Yemen

    “We had record rainfall in Killarney. You know when it’s raining so hard its got to be over soon, because that’s too hard to last. It wasn’t over. A deluge from Sunday noon until the next morning. Dry tent…lucky for us. Lucky for me I had your book. The flashlight propped under chin technique, if you move your jaw you can read the whole line of type. Warm sleeping bag but not sleeping because the rain is too noisy.

    Tom Thomson’s Last Bonfire is a fine book – a great story, well told in generous but measured prose. The characters are wonderfully Canadian and not your usual literary types. Larry Dixon is a delight with his underwear and cobwebs. The depth of research is obvious. Lives lived in tough times. My dad is there. Fishing and drinking, doing man stuff. I wanted to know more about the women, but that’s not that story.

    It reads well beside a lake – in a warm sleeping bag, in a deluge…or not.
    You are now one of a not-so-very-large group of published Canadian writers to tell the stories of this country. You’ve contributed to the canon – a pretty good canoe to be sitting in.
    Bonnie O’Dacre”

  7. Tiffany Yemen

    “ What a perfect cottage read. Venturing to Dorset this weekend, I will certainly have your imagery in my running through my mind. Beautiful.”
    Jenn C. K.

  8. Tiffany Yemen

    “I enjoyed Tom Thomson’s Last Bonfire and would read another by the author.

    The single most striking quality in the writing for me was the absolutely gifted use of descriptive language. The phrases and words were often unusual but both poetic and artistic in evoking very clear pictures of scenes and characters. (‘theatre of spring skies…’ ‘ lake bristles like a cornered dog’) The examples are everywhere on every page. The characters were beautifully developed and there was often humour. It is a quirky fun story.

    Geoff is a lucky man that the fish speak to him.”

    Carol W.

  9. Tiffany Yemen

    Hello Geoff, there are so many Tom Thomson books out there… I thought it was going to be just another like all the rest. Not so! It is exactly what I wanted to read and hear. I have to say you have captured to essence and mood of the feelings of an artist…I loved the part about prep, during and after his first & last show. Just want to congratulate you on your work. I am impressed enough to tell others on Canoe Lake.

  10. Tiffany Yemen

    One of Canada’s enduring mysteries involves the drowning death of artist Tom Thomson on Canoe Lake in 1917. First, was it mishap, murder or suicide? Second, where is Thomson buried, near Canoe Lake or in the family plot in Leith, Ont.? To mark the centennial of his death, Geoff Taylor, who has been canoeing the Algonquin waters for more than 50 years, offers his own informed speculation, with an entirely new version of events from the vantage point of two of Thomson’s pals, Larry Dixon, an inebriated bootlegger and trapper, and George Rowe, a local guide. It’s a fish story, but a plausible one.

    ~ Sarah Murdoch, Toronto Star

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