Lord Strathcona’s Horse rides again

Robert Mackay based his new book

When Bob Mackay retired he traded drafting legal briefs for crafting books. Soldier of the Horse, Mackay’s first fiction novel, arrived on his desk last week. The tale of  passion, war, camaraderie, bravery and history takes readers from love and legal wranglings in Manitoba to a young soldier’s Great War survival in France with the famous WW1 Canadian cavalry regiment, Lord Strathcona’s Horse. Based on the life of his dad, Tom Mackay, Bob not only dedicated years to researching the era, the cavalry and the art of writing, but made a pilgrimage with his wife, Pat, to France in 2008 for the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Moreuil Wood, where the Straths and their horses launched one of history’s last great cavalry charges on March 30, 1918. Weaving emotions generated by wind, rain and memories of scars (physical and emotional) left with his father and those who survived, Mackay ably translates his impressions into a period tale which returns the reader to a by-gone era.  No GPS, digital strategy, or satellite tracking, but simply the shock and awe of men, horses and brutal, unforgiving steel facing enemies and natural elements in the name of freedom, king and country. Mackay, a former rancher, teacher, submariner and lawyer, has plenty of material for his writing career. As president of the Vancouver branch of the Canadian Authors’ Association and a long time member of the Rain Writer’s group in Surrey, his advice to new writers is: “Just write. Every day. I must have written more than 350,000 words which have been condensed into 86,000 words for the novel.” Beginning with a very rough draft, regular writing kept the flow going. “The fun job was revising,” recalls Mackay, who admits seeing the first draft was exciting as was finally holding the finished work published by Touch Wood Editions, a publishing house focusing on stories about Canada’s West. Confessing that he may dust off a long buried manuscript involving a lawyer tangling with terrorists, Mackay is content to leave his years of law behind him. Currently on his agenda are drafts of a Korean War and submarine stories. A book launch and signing for Soldier of the Horse will take place at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 6 (Cloverdale) on Wednesday, March 2 at 7 p.m.   The public is welcome to stop in and chat with Cloverdale’s newest author and retired lawyer Robert Mackay. – Ursula Maxwell-Lewis is a travel journalist, photographer and editor. She can be reached at utravel@shaw.ca Follow the Cloverdale Reporter on Twitter and Facebook. View our print edition online.

Just Posted

Facing reality of death, Surrey man learns real meaning of life

Even while preparing for the end, something inside Keven Drews won’t let him stop living

Mobility commission investigates how to charge Surrey motorists

32 Avenue and 152 Street considered ‘key congestion area’

VIDEO: Double-decker bus pilot in Langley gets rave reviews

The ceiling is a little low, but other than that, everyone seems to be a fan

Emaciated dog brought to Surrey shelter now healthy and up for adoption

Eclipse came into the Surrey Resource Animal Shelter last summer in skeletal, calloused condition

Comic Strippers return to Surrey’s Bell a year after ‘milestone’ show there

‘That was our biggest show ever,’ says Ken Lawson of male-stripper parody/improv-comedy production

B.C. cougar kitten rescued after mother struck by vehicle

Conservation Officers find home for young kitten found dehydrated and frostbitten near Williams Lake

B.C. out of the running for Amazon’s next headquarters

Toronto is the only Canadian city left in the running despite the province backing Metro Vancouver’s bid for new Amazon headquarters

B.C. hockey player nominated for Hobey Baker Award

Myles Powell is a forward at Rochester Institute of Technology

Post interest rate hike debt tips

What to do about your debt and mortgages after the interest rate hike

Foreign workers sleeping in Alberta Burger King basement

Alberta Health Services said its inspectors found foreign workers sleeping in the basement of the Lethbridge restaurant

Court application halts release of bread price-fixing documents

Bread price-fixing documents won’t be unsealed Thursday, Loblaw says

Bad behavour to lead to expulsion at Abbotsford council

New rules lay out how a member can be booted from a meeting

Pharrell and N.E.R.D to headline NBA All-Star halftime show

11-time Grammy winner Pharrell and his hip hop-rock band N.E.R.D. will headline the halftime show at the 2018 NBA All-Star game in Los Angeles

Heritage Minister wants zero tolerance for harassment in entertainment industry

Heritage Minister Melanie Joly had two meetings to discuss harassment in the film, TV and theatre worlds

Most Read