Brothers tells a rip-roaring historical fantasy tale of one Scottish man’s quest to find his family in the New World.
The most recent book from local self-published author Stan A. Cowie, Brothers is a sequel to one of his first novels The Boy, The Man
A true Scotsman himself, Cowie was born in Glasgow to a World War Two army nurse and grew up in the north of Scotland in Aberdeenshire. He left school at the age of 15, never thinking he’d need it again, and went to work in the shipyards before serving five years in the British Army, including two tours in the Gulf.
After leaving the army, Cowie got married and came to Canada in 1967 where he came to work for B.C. Hydro in the Okanagan for 30 years. Eventually, he took a contract in the Cariboo and came to like the area, eventually choosing to settle in Williams Lake for its location.
“It’s a small town, but it’s not a small town. It’s got everything that you need,” Cowie said.
Cowie got into writing while working as a fibre optic inspector off the coast of Ghana on a tugboat that “shouldn’t have legally been afloat” that would break down frequently, leading him to read everything that was aboard that boat. The last of the books he read on that boat made him want to do better and simply write his own. The next day, he simply picked up a pen and started writing the story that had come into his head, that would become The Boy, The Man.
“I wrote with a ballpoint pen and I just wrote and wrote and wrote. So when I got back to Canada, I finished the book and I asked somebody about it and they said we ‘cannae’ accept that, you need to put it into the computer,” Cowie recalled.
Upon hearing the book would likely be separated into three pieces, Cowie lost interest in publishing for a few years before something inspired him to try again. He cut the book down and then published with iUniverse, whom he has since worked on another book entitled The Punisher, based on soldiers of fortune Cowie met during his service.
The Boy, The Man tells the story of 10-year-old James Gordon Cowen leaving his some in Northern Scotland to go to sea as a cabin boy. Young James goes on to experience the worst the North Sea can throw at him, finds his way to Brazil and comes to find himself on the Oregon trail to Canada, all in an effort to rise up from poverty and build himself and his family a new life.
Cowie was mindful of the historical period his story takes place in from the conflicts between the Americans and the British to the Barkerville Gold Rush, which James takes part in. This flair for history, action and adventure shines through in Brothers.
“This is all fiction, but you try to get the facts as close as possible to the truth,” Cowie said.
In Brothers Cowie tells the story of James older brother John Cowen, who himself stowed away on a ship at a young age. Now an accomplished mariner with his own ship, John returns home to find a stranger in his house and that his family has left for the New World.
Determined to reunite with him, John sets out on an odyssey of his own across the ocean to the new world. With his signature mix of the blade, brute force and determination John stays loyal to his kin, no matter the hardships.
The story is written in the first person perspective and follows the inner conversational voice of John on his adventures, sometimes told nonlinearly. Despite it being a sequel, Cowie said both are separate narratives and do not need to be read chronologically to understand what’s going on.
His books are available online at amazon.com or at The Open Book in downtown Williams Lake.