Friday, 11 September 2009


by D.M. McGowan
Strategic Book Publishing, 2008

Thomas Brash is trying to escape but knows he never will. Pursuing him is the memory of the family he lost to cholera. Perhaps he believes that travelling alone in a wild, dangerous land will end all his memories; there is no doubt he wishes to be alone. Whatever his intentions the appearance of Frank Clement and the circumstances of that meeting upset those plans.

Brash views Clement as an uneducated child who requires fatherly protection and guidance. Clement views Brash as a tenderfoot and can not understand how anyone who knows so little could live so long.

These two loners are joined by others and they all become partners. Having achieved relative sanctuary and surrounded by civilization their wilderness past comes back to haunt them.

The two main characters, Thomas Brash and Frank Clements, are like chalk and cheese, their different upbringings making for a good contrast in both beliefs and speech. It also leads to Brash explaining a lot of historical fact to Clements, much like a teacher lecturing a pupil: such as the history of the land they find themselves in (Canada), its geography, and who owns it and how this came to be. I did find the huge differences in the way Brash and Clements spoke jarred with each other at times, interrupting the smooth flow of the rest of the story.

Dave McGowan also features a number of real people and events; Jerry Potts (aka Bear Child), a great scout and guide. Jack Lawson, a constable killed whilst investigating horse theft. One Ear Charlie, the man who killed Lawson. All these people, and more, fit naturally into the story – in fact the last two were the source of the most exciting part of the tale for me.

The book follows Brash and Clements growing friendship through a series of different events, linked solely by these two characters. They witness the killing of some Indians, have a showdown with the killers. Next, find themselves living with a band of Blackfoot, having to prove themselves to them, fight with them, and nearly end up with wives – this latter part providing some humorous situations. Finally Brash and Clements hunt for gold whilst looking for Clements father, and it’s during this time of their lives that they become involved with Lawson and One Ear.

Partners is a well told story that entertains and educates. It’s a long book too, providing a big read for your money.

1 comment:

Bill Studley said...

"Partners" is an excellent, highly entertaining (and even enlightening) read. It is one of those "don't wanna put it down" books with a great story line and a lot of very interesting history of Western Canada. A book that Zane Gray or Louis Lamour would have been proud to have written. I heartily recommend it!