Rowan Books is a publisher and bookseller that was established to promote books written by the late Jean Cantlie Stewart. Jean wrote on subjects about which she felt passionately: Scotland, education, adventure and maritime, animal stories and latterly on China. Jean’s grandfather, Sir James Cantlie, was a lifelong friend of Sun Yat Sen, the founder of modern China. Sir James saved Sun’s life after he had been kidnapped by the Chinese Legation in London in 1896 and Jean became something of an expert on Sun.

Rowan Books is now managed by members of Jean’s family and we are broadening the scope to cover the publication and sale of material by other authors, including books by Jean’s grandson Geordie Stewart.

Featured Book of the month.

At the age of 22, Geordie Stewart became the youngest British mountaineer to climb the Seven Summits – the highest mountain on every continent. IN SEARCH OF SISU is a book about this climbing experience, but it is also much more.  The real aim in climbing those seven mountains was not to seek glory or break records but rather, to find a path to contentment. This book describes how Geordie overcomes adversity and personal struggle, on and off the mountain. It reveals intensely raw and personal feelings about the transition from teenager to adulthood. More…


News from the Past.

Some notable work has been done by Dr. James Cantlie, the tropical medicine specialist, in the use of tuning-forks in the diagnosis of obscure disease conditions.

Dr. Cantlie found, says the ‘Times’ that in certain cases it was exceedingly difficult with an ordinary stethoscope to obtain accurate knowledge of the enlargement of such organs as the liver, spleen, stomach and heart, more especially where enlargement was accompanied by affection of neighbouring structures.

He discovered that if a tuning-fork was set vibrating, and the shaft of the fork placed against the body-wall and moved about, a note varying with the density of the organ situated immediately beneath was transmitted to the stethoscope.

“In this way”, he says, “the limits of the liver can be gauged with almost hair-breadth precision.”  The fork used gives out the note C sharp: it has a specially-designed ‘striker’ attachment, so that it need not be removed from position for the purpose of re-vibrating.

Dr. Cantlie in certain cases compared the results of his tuning-fork method with those obtained by means of X-rays and found that the former were absolutely accurate.  He believes that the method can be used in diagnosing cases of broken ribs and bones generally.

Pall Mall Gazette, 05 February, 1914


In Search of Sisu

Powerfully written and compelling. A must-read for anyone with an interest in adventure.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes

Sherry, The Autobiography of a Springer Spaniel

The story is charming and informative, the illustrations are delightful, and the blurb says this book is for readers aged 9 – 11. You don’t have to be.

Tony Andrews, The Scottish Countryside Alliance

Pine Trees and the Sky

If there was a perfect time to read this charming little book, may I suggest outdoors on a lazy, balmy summer afternoon in relaxed half-hour snatches.

Keith Lobban, Leopard Magazine

Click here for more reviews.