Nothing conjures up images of folksy Canadiana as vividly as maple syrup — pancake breakfasts, horse-drawn rides through sugar bushes, buckets hanging from maple trees. But little about the industry is quaint in 21st-century Quebec. In Amber Gold: Maple Syrup Wars and a Huge Canadian Heist, Star feature writer Sandro Contenta tells how a producers' cartel has cornered the world market, doubling the price to a staggering $1,800 a barrel, roughly 17 times the price of crude oil. It has sparked a free-market revolt and the theft of $18 million worth of the liquid gold -- one of the largest heists in Canadian history.
Sandro Contenta is a feature writer at the Toronto Star. He joined the paper in 1981 and spent nine years as a foreign correspondent, reporting from the Middle East and Europe. A former education beat reporter, Contenta is the author of the book Rituals of Failure: What Schools Really Teach. His previous Star Dispatches ebooks are Linda’s Story: An Investigation into the Mysterious World of Amnesia and Sex, Scandal and Secularism: Crisis in the Catholic Church. He has been nominated for four National Newspaper Awards.