Arachnide Editions Imprint Logo

October 1970

Written by Louis Hamelin

Translated by Wayne Grady

  • 632 Pages
  • 9781770891036
  • 9" x 6"
  • FICTION / Literary
  • FICTION / Thrillers



Publication Date September 21, 2013

Longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Selected as an Best Book.

October 1970. Two kidnappings. One dead. A crisis unlike anything the country had ever seen — here is the story behind history . . .

Thirty years after the October Crisis, Sam Nihilo, a freelance writer whose career is in a slump, is drawn to the conspiracy theories that have proliferated in the wake of the events. While investigating the death of one of the FLQ hostages, Nihilo sees his life consumed by an inquiry that leads him further into a flurry of facts, both known and newly discovered. Soon, secret agents, corrupt police officers, politicians, and former terrorists of the Front de Liberation du Quebec form a mysterious constellation around him, and at the centre lies a complicated and dangerous truth.

In the tradition of Don DeLillo's Libra, October 1970 is a thrilling fictional account of the events that shaped one of the most volatile moments in recent history.

Long-listed for the Scotiabank Giller Prize 2013

Selected for the Quill & Quire Books of the Year: Review Editor's Choice 2013

Selected for the Best Books: Editors' Picks 2013


Louis Hamelin
Louis Hamelin is a novelist and academic. His novel La Rage won the Governor General’s Literary Award for French Fiction in 1989. He is a literary critic for Le Devoir and Ici Montréal. He lives in Sherbrooke, Quebec.

Wayne Grady

Wayne Grady is the author of fourteen books of science and natural history and the editor of six anthologies of short stories. His translations of Daniel Poliquin's Black Squirrel and Francine D'Amour's Return from Africa were shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award, and he is the winner of the John Glassco Prize and the Governor General's Literary Award for Translation. He lives near Kingston, Ontario, with his wife, novelist Merilyn Simonds.


"This is a masterful work. Hamelin, a novelist and academic, has massaged prodigious research and historical fact into a book that had me laughing and weeping at the same time." Toronto Star

"It's a great ride. This novel carries on the traditions of conspiracy-theory fiction such as James Ellroy's The Cold Six Thousand, about the assassination of John F. Kennedy. But October 1970 is a lot funnier and easier to read." Winnipeg Free Press

"...October 1970 is a masterful roman à clef about a defining moment in Quebec history." Montreal Gazette

"As a novel that orchestrates the forces, large and small, that compete to dominate and control both personal and public lives, it’s masterful. It successfully captures the feeling of the time and place, it allows the people, the ideas and the actions to speak for themselves, it moves the reader with suspense and tragedy." Globe and Mail

"Hamelin has crafted a politically engaged plot that moves at the speed of a Hollywood thriller." Quill & Quire