A Roll of the Bones

Author: Trudy J. Morgan-Cole
Genre: Fiction
Format: paperback
Pages: 248
Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.5 × 1 in
Weight: 1 kg
Published: October 14, 2019
ISBN: 9781550817980

In 1610, John Guy established a small colony in Cupids, Newfoundland, on the very edge of a world unknown to Europeans. Two years later, he brought a shipment of supplies to his all-male settlement: 70 goats, 10 heifers, 2 bulls, and 16 women. A Roll of the Bones tells the story of some of these nameless women by tracing the journeys of three young people—Ned Perry, Nancy Ellis, and Kathryn Gale—who leave Bristol, England, for a life in the struggling community. Ned dreams of altering his fate with the promise of a New World. Kathryn only wishes to follow her husband—little dreaming she might find romance outside her marriage. And Nancy, the servant girl, has no desire to leave Bristol, but her fealty will ultimately test her ability to survive.

A vivid reimagining of settler life in the early seventeenth century, A Roll of the Bones is the first in a trilogy of novels wrestling with the realities of colonization. Here, Trudy J. Morgan-Cole presents an array of unforgettable characters inhabiting the space where two worlds will collide, where the limits of love and loyalty will be tried in a harsh and unforgiving landscape.


  • Canada Book Award Winner
  • Silver, The Miramichi Reader’s The Very Best! Cover Art/Design Award


“Think you know the history of New Found Lande? Think again. Morgan-Cole cracks open the past and lights it up. The women settlers of Cupids—a “parcel of females”—star in a gripping story of identity, class, sexism, colonialism, and outright survival. A refreshing and fascinating look at a neglected side of Newfoundland’s history—the experience of women.” – Michelle Butler Hallett, author of the critically acclaimed This Marlowe

“Catapulting us back in time to the inception of a brave new world, Trudy Morgan-Cole’s A Roll of the Bones is an immersive, fast-paced tale full of the dangers and thralldom of hacking out a life against the threat of scurvy, unrelenting storms of all sorts, hunger, loneliness, unwanted desires, and the kids of secrets that unleash harrowing consequences. By charging into the lives that history neglected, Morgan-Cole offers her greatest accomplishment to date, with the promise of even more to come.” – Lisa Moore, author of February and Caught

“A Roll of the Bones is a flawless model of historical fiction. One can only hope that Book Two is soon to be on the horizon so we get to find out what additional adventures await our colonists.” – The Miramichi Reader

A Roll of the Bones is a satisfying read and as a launch to the trilogy it has character, texture, and traction. Morgan-Cole is skilled not just with historical fiction but that of several different periods (By The Rivers of Brooklyn [1920s]; Most Anything You Please [WWII]); how great she keeps upping her game.” – Joan Sullivan, The Telegram

“…the prose in Roll of the Bones is flowing and sensuous. The reader experiences the smell of mud and dung as Kathryn trudges through a Bristol market. We feel the swell of the sea while Ned, as a crew member of the Indeavour, travels north along Newfoundland’s coastline in search of the island’s native people… the eras in question are brought to life in the very texture of the writing. Perhaps this is the highest kind of achievement for a historical novel.” – Paul Butler, author of The Widow’s Fire

“This vivid, cinematic story gripped me from the start – it’s the first of a trilogy which I knew when I set out to read it but then I forgot and imagine my horror at the cliffhanger ending! Needless to say, I can’t wait for the next installment! Likeable characters, smooth writing that truly whisks you into Cupid’s Cove, a lovely dash of romance and intrigue, pirates and villains!” – The Minerva Reader

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