The Invasion, a novel originally published in 1932, marked the debut of historical novelist Janet Lewis, who went on to write numerous poems and short stories as well as the novels The Wife of Martin Guerre and The Trial of Soren Quist. Lewis grew up in the Lake country of the Old Northwest and The Invasion is based on family stories she heard as a child.The Invasion displays well-researched historical accuracy, an innate understanding of and feeling for Native American culture enhanced by the author's fluency in the Ojibway language, and an economy of style that is remarkable for a first novel.
In 1790, John Johnston, a cultivated young Irishman, came to the far corner of the Northwest Territory to make his fortune intending to spend only a year. Instead he married Ozhah-guscoday- wayquay (The Woman of the Glade), daughter of the Ojibway chief Waub- ojeeg, and settled on the St. Mary's River. Together they founded a family that was loved, respected, and famous throughout the region for honesty, fairness, and hospitality. Their home was the center of culture for the area and for every visiting traveler, Native American or white. The Invasion chronicles a time when one culture violently supplanted another even as it depicts a family that blends two cultures together.
Henry Rowe Schoolcraft considered the Johnston family his most valued connection to the Native American population. He eventually married Jane Johnston, daughter of John and The Woman of the Glade, and remain close to her entire family. In his diary, Schoolcraft wrote of the Johnstons, "I have in fact stumbled, as it were, on the only family in Northwest America who could in Indian lore have acted as my guide, philosopher, and friend."