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.


Published by Rowan Books, October 2020

Geordie Stewart left his home and his job in the army and departed the UK in 2018 to begin a 14-month solo cycle across Europe and Asia. He experienced freedom and isolation travelling across open deserts and through a vicious Siberian winter. He travelled 13,000 miles and this account of his journey is a book about the perils and pleasures of a gritty cycling adventure. It describes how one man takes the road less travelled, venturing into the unknown and learning how to cope with uncertainty…MORE

A Rolling Stone

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


A ROLLING STONE by Geordie Stewart (Published by Rowan Books, Oct 2020)

‘I haven’t come across a journey like this before. Choosing the unfamiliar path is risky but with that comes great insights and rewards. A Rolling Stone is a captivating insight into the mind of a solo traveller. A courageous and bold endeavour.’

Sir Ranulph Fiennes


A ROLLING STONE by Geordie Stewart (Published by Rowan Books, Oct 2020)

‘A true pioneer and an inspiration for tenacity and resilience’

Bear Grylls


PINE TREES AND THE SKY by Jean Cantlie Stewart

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

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