COMMENTS about ‘Border Brothers’ :-
‘You do not know where history stops and fictions begins….’
‘A page-turner; you want to know what happens next.’
‘A compelling sense of doom…’
‘The writing is very good – competent, entertaining and engaging.’
‘The writing is highly accomplished…’
‘A fantastic central character and strong independent female characters…’
‘The book deals with political, social and religious themes well; everything in the multiple strands of the plot fits together well.’
‘Great characters and very well-plotted.’
‘I really did fear for Soutra as events against it were put in motion….’
Border Brothers can be bought online at Amazon, Wordery and other online bookshops; as well as Waterstones, Blackwells, Whities in Peebles, Far from the Madding Crowd in Linlithgow, the Bookmark in Grantown on Spey, the House of Soutra café, Mainstreet Trading Bookshop in St Boswells, Royal Botanic Gardens shop, Edinburgh.
I am holding a Book Launch Party for this book in Blackhall Library in Edinburgh in July; this is my local library, and a very fine setting for the event. I shall be talking about the book itself, but even more, the inspiration for it, the various history trails I followed, the blank walls I encountered, and the personal medical memories that went into it. Ideally I should like to talk to people in Borders libraries also. Please contact me via the borders.co.uk website if you are interested in such a speaking event (there won’t be wine and nibbles on all occasions, alas).
Probably many historical records are suppressed if the truth embarrasses someone of importance. The story of the ending and demotion of Soutra Abbey Hospital in the Middle Ages seems to have been extraordinarily comprehensive. My fictional account in ‘BORDER BROTHERS’ may be near the mark; a story of power and greed by Church and State.
At the top of Soutra Moor, 10 miles north of Lauder, there are ghosts stalking the top of the hill. Some call them wind turbines. But there are no romantic ruins as in Melrose, Jedburgh or other Border Abbey sites; all the remains are buried underground, a suitable analogy for the blank holes in the historical record, not only about the ending of the Abbey but also about its importance in history. I wonder if there is information concealed in a dusty file or drawer somewhere in a library or castle ?
Compare the two pictures, one of the ruins of Melrose Abbey, still bearing witness to its beauty and power, both secular and spiritual, centuries after its ending; and the bleak windswept hilltop with no evidence of the grandeur that once was here. Only a small family funerary vault made of the stones that once graced Soutra Hospital.
You can buy BORDER BROTHERS by Margaret Cook at many online outlets including Amazon and Wordery; at many Edinburgh bookshops, including Waterstones and Blackwells. In the Borders it can be found, inter alia, at the House of Soutra and at the wonderful Main Street Trading Bookshop in St Boswells. It can even be bought from the Book Mark in Grantown on Spey.
On Soutra Open Days, organised by Dr Brian Moffat, Border Brothers has been on sale on site, whatever the weather. There will be more Open Days at the end of August.
Border Brothers is the story of the end of the hugely important and powerful mediaeval Abbey Hospital at Soutra in mid-fifteenth century, an event that is shrouded in mystery. If you stand on top of Soutra Moor, there are no visible ruins of the immense institution this once was; they are all underground. A suitable analogy for the record of its demise. One can only ponder, imagine and create a story, which may or may not be near the truth. Where once stood this huge edifice, with a church that was at least as big as Jedbergh Abbey, now all is animal pasture and wind farms. The wonderful view towards the Forth and beyond however has not changed since those distant days, and if you gaze long enough at approaching storms from the north, you wonder if they are wandering ghosts of long ago.
For over fifteen years Robin Howie`s popular walking column appeared in The Scotsman. Very well known in Scottish hill-walking circles, his knowledge of the Scottish high tops is second to none.
His first book, 100 Scotsman Walks, published by Whittles Publishing Ltd and still in print, covered those first ten years.
Featuring many colour photographs, his second book, Another 100 Scotsman Walks, printed in 2016 with the help of Indie Authors World, relates to the past 5 years; a collection of mostly shorter walks covering much of Scotland that will appeal to a wider range of walkers, including children and those less active. Many of these are in the Borders.
Each walk, indicated by a location map, has a guide identifying Ordnance Survey map, distance, height, terrain, start point, time and the all-important refreshment spot.
Have you completed all or some of the Munros, Corbetts, Donalds, Grahams or Marilyns? Wanting something easier and new? “Doing the Howies” will be bags of fun.
Robin’s books are available on Amazon and in Waterstones.
Border Brothers is the most recent work published by MKRY Publishing, who now have no fewer than three titles to their name. Not bad for a family of relatively new, septuagarian authors! We also have a brand new logo. I will post Robin’s latest book cover on another Shoutout. Our logo reflects his name and my passion for birdwatching. Our three titles are:- A Bit on the Side, Another 100 Scotsman Walks and Border Brothers. Three totally different books under the same logo you could never hope to find. I hope you enjoy them all! However, my reason for advertising on Borders.co.uk is that BORDER BROTHERS takes place in the Borders, namely at Soutra.
I am looking forward to talking about my book, Border Brothers, to Reading or Book Groups, full of people who are fascinated by local history. Please contact me if you wish me to speak to your group. My contact details are found on the link:- http://borders.co.uk/business-listing/mkry-publishing/
My webpage is:- margaretkcook.co.uk
Amazon Author page is:- amazon.com/author/margaretkcook
There are many lovely bookshops in the Borders, all with their own particular atmosphere, and it was a pleasure to explore them. Usually I am buying, but right now I have my own book to sell.
‘Border Brothers’ is my historical novel set on Soutra near Lauder. Maybe you have heard an account of the excavations there that have uncovered secrets of the Abbey-Hospital that once stood on the top of the moor – yes, in all the weather that is a feature up there above 1200 ft. A very advanced hospital for its time, it specialised in treating war wounds on the basis of experience gained during the Wars of Independence. It probably treated soldiers from opposing armies. Maybe that is why, in the three centuries of its existence, it was never subjected to assault as were the other Borders Abbeys.
But the big mystery is how Soutra came to such a comprehensive end in mid-fifteenth century. Now there are no romantic ruins; just grassland and wind farms. And yet, much is buried here.
My book deals with many aspects of the hospital, but the main thrust is – how amid the politics of the time, this terrible downfall came about.
My Author page on amazon is:- https://www.amazon.com/author/margaretkcook and the book is available there, on Wordery and from a number of shops; I hope to add Borders bookshops too, in time!
I am proud that my book ‘Border Brothers’ is my passport to becoming a member of the Borders community. I am looking forward to meeting Borders people, hopefully talking to groups about the fascinating material that came to light as I researched the background, and most particularly about the history that DIDN’T come to light! That after all inspired the fictional content.
I hope to engage with reading groups and historical groups. Yes, I want to sell books; but much more than that, I want people to read the book. Discussions lead on to new ideas – inspiration for the next work of historical fiction.
Join the Roxburghe Shooting School’s 3 hour clay pigeon shooting beginners session on Saturday 13th May. Everybody welcome, children from 12 years. Inclusive of all; equipment, clays, cartridges, shotguns to suit your size, qualified, experienced instructors, professional tuition, training targets followed by a mini competition! Only £55.00 per person: bookings only to: 07798 884643 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org PLACES LIMITED FIRST COME!
Self-publishing, family run organisation (includes husband Robin Howie and myself). However, my immediate interest is to publicise my recently published work of historical fiction, ‘Border Brothers,’ based on the mediaeval Abbey Hospital … More