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All That Glitters by Martine Desjardins , Translated by David Homel and Fred A. Reed

Finalist for QWF Translation Prize in 2005


In 1914, Simon Dulac enrolls in a Canadian contingent of military police, a perfect cover for his real ambition—to comb the battlefields of Europe unhindered in his search for the legendary Templar treasure said to have been buried in Flanders in 1307. An inveterate and uncannily lucky gambler, Dulac encounters Nell, who has come to the trenches to practice suturing wounds, forbidden to nurses in her native England.

So skilled is Nell at her craft that she knits together torn and broken flesh with elaborate and beautiful embroidery, creating a rebus code which both reveals and conceals the most intricate secrets of her charges.

Haunted by the iron jealousy of their commanding officer, Dulac and Nell pursue their desires and risk everything in the greatest game of all.

Masterful, transgressive and erudite, Desjardins’s second novel constructs a narrative tapestry woven of the most elusive threads of meaning and signification.

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English, translated from French