Sick Heart River (1941) is a novel by Scottish author John Buchan set in Canada. It was published posthumously. The book was published in the United States under the title Mountain Meadow.
The plot is particularly poignant, since it discusses a terminally ill man, Edward Leithen, going off to die in a hidden valley in the Canadian wilderness.
Buchan wrote the novel while Governor General of Canada and Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh and it was published posthumously following his death as a result of a fall and stroke. It is one of Buchan's most spiritual novels, talking about death and redemption.
Sir Edward Leithen is a fictional character in several of John Buchan's novels: The Power-House (1916), John Macnab (1925), The Dancing Floor (1926), The Gap in the Curtain (1932) and Sick Heart River (1941), one year after Buchan's death. Leithen's name is borrowed from the Leithen Water, a tributary of the River Tweed, one of many references to the Scottish Borders in Buchan's novels.
John Buchan , 1st Baron Tweedsmuir PC GCMG GCVO CH (26 August 1875 – 11 February 1940) was a Scottish novelist, historian and Unionist politician who served as Governor General of Canada, the 15th since Canadian Confederation.
After a brief legal career Buchan simultaneously began both his writing career and his political and diplomatic career, serving as a private secretary to the colonial administrator of various colonies in Southern Africa. He eventually wrote propaganda for the British war effort in the First World War. Once he was back in civilian life Buchan was elected Member of Parliament for the Combined Scottish Universities, but he spent most of his time on his writing career, notably writing The Thirty-Nine Steps and other adventure fiction.