“This book will sit comfortably and deservedly on the same shelf as Nan Shepherd’s masterpiece.” Alan Massie, The Scotsman
Elemental, fierce and full of wonder, the Cairngorm mountains are the high and rocky heart of Scotland. To know them would take forever, to love them demands a kind of courageous surrender.
In The Hidden Fires, Merryn Glover undertakes that challenge with Nan Shepherd as companion and guiding light. Following in the footsteps and contours of The Living Mountain, she explores the same landscapes and themes as Shepherd’s seminal work. This is a journey separated by time but unified by space and purpose, a conversation between two women across nearly a century that explores how entering the life of a mountain can illuminate our own. An Australian who grew up in the Himalayas, her early experiences of the Scottish hills and weather left her cold. But gradually acclimatising and with an approach like Shepherd’s, that is more mountain wandering than mountaineering, she discovers the spark that sets the hills and herself on fire. Through Glover’s deepening encounter, the wild majesty and iridescence of the Cairngorms is revealed in this beautiful evocation of landscape, place and identity.
‘Only rarely does one read a book whose quality of distinction is immediately apparent from the first page; Merryn Glover’s The Hidden Fires is not just brave, it is remarkable. Her writing comes at you out of the rock; it recalls some splendid cave painting, telling as much of man as of beast and leaving us in awe of each.’ Sir John Lister-Kaye, FRSGS, OBE
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Any bookshop or library can order it in. Just tell them the title, author and publisher.
The book may not arrive in outlets beyond the UK until May 2023. This varies depending on location, but it should be possible to pre-order.
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Awarded Book of the Year by The Bookmark Book Festival
Longlisted for the Highland Book Prize
After shepherd Colvin Munro disappears, a mysterious trail of his twelve possessions leads into the Cairngorm mountains. His foster sister Mo and prodigal brother Sorley are driven to discover the forces that led to his disappearance. As a former church minister and current owner of the Ferryman Inn, Mo thinks she knows everyone’s story: Colvin’s Traveller mother, alcoholic war-scarred father, Bolivian wife, musician daughter, bird-obsessed son, his friends and foes. Sorley, returning home from his life in the City, brings unsettling revelations.
The story circles out to embrace the entire community, its history and the landscape that shapes them. Spanning almost a century, the novel is a paean to the connections between people, their land and way of life. A profound mystery, a political manifesto, and a passionate story of love, loss and redemption, it is shot through with wisdom and humour.
For reviews and features of Of Stone and Sky see here.
For a list of background reading underpinning the work, see here.
Set in North India and spanning 70 years of recent history through the lives of one family, A House Called Askival is ultimately the story of a rebel daughter and her father who need reconciliation before he dies.
James Connor, burdened with guilt from a tragedy during Partition in 1947, has dedicated his life to serving India. His estranged daughter, Ruth, believing she came second to her American parents’ missionary calling, rebelled as a teenager. This triggered her own devastating experience during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, following the assassination of Indira Gandhi. After 24 years away, she finally returns to Askival, the family home in the northern hill-station of Mussoorie in Uttarakhand, to tend to her dying father. There, both must confront the past and find forgiveness if they are to cross the gulf between them and be at peace.
Available on request through any bookshop or library as well as online retailers. Personally signed copies or bookplates available from me in the website shop.