Good Sales at Launch Party for BORDER BROTHERS by Margaret Cook

#Shoutout 12:17 on Sun 30 Jul 2017 by MKRY Publishing   , , based in/near to

Margaret’s Book Launch Party took place on 19th July at Blackhall Library, Edinburgh. Many thanks to Staff there for their help with the event. A Library has the right ambience for such an occasion, especially when supplemented with wine and nibbles. Thanks too to all the friends who came and participated and bought the book. One friend commented with awe on the educated crowd who really knew their Scottish history! It was a pleasure to speak to such a gathering and I wish I could do it every week.

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Three Reviews for Border Brothers by Margaret Cook

#Shoutout 11:48 on Sat 29 Jul 2017 by MKRY Publishing   , , based in/near to

“A gripping tale set in the Scottish Borderlands which gives an interesting explanation of historical events at Soutra just south of Edinburgh on the Fala Moors. All that remains of the original monastic buildings today is a small building called Soutra Aisle.”

Border Brothers Cover“Margaret Cook expertly captured the essence of 15th century monastic and secular life. Border Brothers drew me in from page 1, transported me to a bygone age and kept me spellbound. I admit to staying up in the wee sma’ hours to finish reading. This book is well researched and skillfully written. A real find.”

“Border Brothers is the convincing but, by the author’s own admission, fictional account of the downfall of the Augustinian Abbey of Soltre in the Scottish Borders. While the archaeological record reveals much about the herbal remedies in use at this mid fifteen century centre of medical excellence, little is known about the circumstances surrounding the destruction of this rich, land-owning abbey.
The book opens with a chilling account of the burning at the stake of a “witch”. The narrative then shifts to a point in time some thirty years earlier to the beginning of the story, which leads up to the grisly scene described in the opening chapter.
The book is a real page turner, setting the story of the principal character, Fergus the “medicus” at the abbey, in the context of the more colourful features of late mediaeval society. There is the avarice of kings and the venality of clerics, heresy and superstition and the collaboration of church and state to the enrichment of both. There is also romantic love, illicit sex and rape. Equally absorbing are the accounts of the ground-breaking midwifery practices being developed at Soltre and of the healing techniques used in conjunction with the herbal remedies deployed in the treatment of ailments, such as henbane, opium poppy, mandrake, hemlock and foxglove.
One could have wished for more in this vein, but on the other hand the author lifts the medical aspects of the narrative to a higher plane altogether by setting two opposing philosophies of medicine against each other. The belief in conservative religious communities of the day was that sickness is caused by sin. At Soltre, Fergus the medicus openly espouses the Islamic belief that each disease is sent into this world with its cure (but the means of treatment may not be known to everyone). Surely this was the cause of the downfall of Soltre rather than Fergus’ passionate love affair with a young woman. The reader is left to decide.”

For Readers and Bookworms

#Shoutout 10:54 on Tue 04 Jul 2017 by MKRY Publishing   , , based in/near to

Historical fiction about Scotland  –  right here in the Borders!!

Border Brothers CoverThemes of herbal medicine and heresy, intrigue and ancient practices, superstition and supernatural forces, saints and sinners, violence and virtue, myths and martyrs, heresy and history expunged. What more ingredients could you want?

The action takes place on mysterious and sinister moorlands, remote and romantic islands, Scotland’s episcopal centre of St Andrews. 

 It’s all here in:-


Do you read historical fiction?

#Shoutout 12:20 on Sun 02 Jul 2017 by MKRY Publishing   , , based in/near to

Calling all readers and enthusiasts of historical fiction; specifically about Scotland, even more specifically about the Borders! Here is a book about Soutra, that mysterious moor with the amazing views towards the north, towards Edinburgh, the Firth of Forth, many hill ranges and even Highland peaks. All you will see at the site is the Soutra Aisle, a family vault dating back to 1689, and built of the stone that once made a part of the immense Abbey Hospital that stood here for 3 centuries.

Some visitors think that the Aisle is the old abbey church; but no, it is of much later date. And the original Soutra Church of the Holy Trinity was of comparable size to other Borders Abbeys such as Jedburgh or Melrose (see below). This is known because of the size of the foundations of Soutra. Much of the history of the ending of Soutra Hospital is as mysteriously hidden as the physical remains.

       So that is the story in the book ‘BORDER BROTHERS’ by Margaret Cook. A good, serious, summer read? A welcome present for your book-avid friend or family-member?

Available on Amazon, Wordery, many bookshops.                           Border Brothers CoverBorder Brothers CoverBorder Brothers Cover

Margaret Cook and ‘Border Brothers’

#Shoutout 10:15 on Wed 28 Jun 2017 by MKRY Publishing   , , based in/near to

Gripping historical fiction with a Borders theme.  

Here are comments made by readers:-


‘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…’Border Brothers Cover

‘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….’

Available on Amazon, Wordery, in many bookshops.

Comments from readers about ‘BORDER BROTHERS’ by Margaret Cook

#Shoutout 11:56 on Mon 26 Jun 2017 by MKRY Publishing   , , based in/near to

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 Cover

 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.



Border Brothers by Margaret Cook – Book Launch Party

#Shoutout 12:35 on Fri 23 Jun 2017 by MKRY Publishing   , , based in/near to

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. Border Brothers CoverI 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 website if you are interested in such a speaking event (there won’t be wine and nibbles on all occasions, alas).

What happened to Soutra Hospital? A tantalising mystery.

#Shoutout 12:24 on Fri 23 Jun 2017 by MKRY Publishing   , , based in/near to

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.Border Brothers Cover

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.


Border Brothers – Places to buy

#Shoutout 16:13 on Fri 09 Jun 2017 by MKRY Publishing   , , based in/near to

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.Border Brothers Cover 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.


MKRY Publishing Border Brothers in Borders Bookshops

#Shoutout 11:09 on Wed 07 Jun 2017 by MKRY Publishing   , , based in/near to


Being a Bookseller must be an even more precarious life than that of an indie-author. I have visited a number of web pages of fabulous-looking bookshops, only to find that they only exist in a virtual world. One in the Borders called ‘FounditatLast’ – in the back of beyond – had turned into a smithy and storage room!
Other bookshops find a way to flourish, like the fabulous Damascus Drum in Hawick and Mainstreet Trading Company in St Boswells. A cosy community cafe atmosphere in both is very welcoming.
I was on a pilgrimage, marketing my book ‘Border Brothers,’ set on Soutra in the Borders, so I’m getting to know my patch.
The beautiful House of Soutra Cafe – on the A68 just below Soutra Aisle – is a delightful place to stop for coffee and sticky cakes and buns. And it stocks some local books too, including mine!

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Another 100 Scotsman Walks – MKRY Publishing

#Shoutout 17:00 on Tue 06 Jun 2017 by MKRY Publishing   , , based in/near to

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.