From saddles and spurs to periscopes and North-Seekers, Robert W. Mackay is an avid military, naval and wartime historian.

Robert W. Mackay is a former naval officer, submariner, teacher and lawyer. Born in Surrey, British Columbia, he's lived above and below water in the West and East Coasts of Canada, the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans and North and Mediterranean Seas. In 2008, he retired from his law practice to dedicate his time to research and writing historical fiction novels based on real military events.

Mackay's gold medal award winning first novel Soldier of the Horse is set in 1914. Tom Macrae, a law student from a secure, settled life on the Canadian prairies, is sent into the horror of the Great War. As many men did, he leaves behind his sweetheart, Ellen, who has decisions of her own to face during Tom's absence.

A member of the Canadian Cavalry Brigade, Tom serves in and out of the trenches, in the thick of the stalemated struggles on the Western Front. Along with the soldiers' comradeship, there also lie strong bonds of trust between soldiers and their horses. Together, Tom, his horse Toby and the Brigade face a hurricane of shells, machine guns and bayonets and discover the best and the worst of humanity.

Inspired by his own father's story of fighting in Picardy, France, Robert Mackay's novel pivots on the great military history and traditions of the Canadian Cavalry, while showing the human element, dedication and vulnerability of those who served in World War One.

Mackay's second novel is set in the mysterious, occasionally dangerous, and always exciting world of a Cold War-era submarine. Research and racking of memory banks will be ongoing as he works on this project, set for publication in 2014. Down periscope, full ahead!


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Updated: November 1, 2012