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TouchWood Editions Fall 2016

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A Perfect Eden
Encounters by Early Explorers of Vancouver Island
By (author): Michael Layland
9781771511773 Hardcover, Printed dust jacket English General Trade HISTORY / Canada / Pre-Confederation Oct 04, 2016
$39.95 CAD
Active 10.13 x 9.38 x 0.94 in | 1320 gr 256 pages TouchWood Editions
Bill Duthie Bookseller's Choice Award 2017, Short-listed Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize 2017, Short-listed

Shortlisted for two 2016 BC Book Prizes
Finalist for the 2016 Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Historical Writing

A compelling history of the earliest explorers to Vancouver Island, brought to life with illustrations and maps.

In 1842, when explorer James Douglas encountered the rugged natural paradise that would become Vancouver Island, he described it as “a perfect Eden." This book gathers the early recorded histories and personal accounts left by Chinese seafarers, Spanish and British naval officers, traders seeking sea otter pelts, colonial surveyors, as well as soldiers, settlers, and other adventurers, starting from many centuries ago up to 1858. Collected here in detail for the first time, these accounts create a multilayered tale of discovery and exploration.

A Perfect Eden is the companion volume to the acclaimed The Land of Heart's Delight: Early Maps and Charts of Vancouver Island, which was shortlisted for the Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice BC Book Prize, and for the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize.

Michael Layland was president of the Victoria Historical Society, the Friends of the BC Archives, and is an amateur naturalist. Trained as an officer and mapmaker in the Royal Engineers, now retired, he has authored three books on the progression of European knowledge of Vancouver Island. Discover more at

  • Electronic galleys targeting major and niche Pacific Northwest print media such the Times Colonist, the Vancouver Sun, British Columbia History, BC BookWorld, and Canadian History
  • Marketing campaigns via outreach to Canadian Historical Association, and the British Columbia Historical Federation
  • Radio interviews with broadcast media such as CBC’s “BC Almanac” and “North by Northwest”
  • Guest lecture and presentation at museums and libraries in Victoria, Nanaimo, Courtney and Campbell River

For more information contact
[email protected]

"Given how many books have been written about the exploration of Vancouver Island and the waters around it, is there really room for one more? In a word, yes. Michael Layland’s A Perfect Eden is a fine addition to the range of books already published . . . This book is informative and highly readable, and no matter how much you have read about exploration of the Island, you will surely learn from this book as well."

- Dave Obee, Times Colonist

"Layland is the perfect guide. He has read everything about Vancouver Island from 1774 to 1862, and delivers the choicest morsels from hundred of log books and diaries. He introduces us, in pictures and stories, to the poeple whose names we live with every day . . . and takes us with them as they charted these waters and measured the land . . . This book is my top pick."

- Robert Amos, Times Colonist

A Perfect Eden is on the Vancouver Sun's list of BC Bestsellers through the month of December.

- Vancouver Sun

"A well-organized, well-written guide to first contact [between European explorers and First Nations in BC]."

- Steven Hume, Vancouver Sun

In A Perfect Eden, Michael Layland describes the origins of our love affair with Vancouver Island. For much of it he lets those who came here speak for themselves with liberal quotes from their writings. He does not offer a lot of analysis, but rather tells the story of European exploration of, and growing attachment to, this particular part of the world . . . He tells the story with knowledge and affection, and the book is beautifully produced and illustrated.

- Robin Fisher, The Ormsby Review

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Also Available

Bright Seas, Pioneer Spirits Betty Keller 9781894898874 $18.95 CAD May 15, 2009
The Land of Heart's Delight Michael Layland 9781771510158 $39.95 CAD Oct 01, 2013
The Discovery of a Northwest Passage Sir Robert McClure 9781771510097 $19.95 CAD May 07, 2013

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