COLLINGWOOD — Engineer Tom McCavour has tapped into a lifetime of experiences in the mining industry to craft his first book. McCavour launched his book, Bloody Diamonds, in the third floor community room of the municipal building at Ste. Marie and Simcoe in November.
Bloody Diamonds follows the stories of Sarah and and Sam from childhood through to adulthood, and their experiences with the diamond mining industry in Africa and Canada’s north.
Sam escapes the civil war in Sierra Leone and is employed as a geologist by a South African diamond mining company, while Sarah is an Inuit and an environmentalist; while they meet as adversaries in the Northwest Territories, the two fall in love.
McCavour is a retired engineer whose career took him to Canada’s northern territories and to Africa. His work up north led to the development of the Diavik diamond mine in the North Slave Region of the Northwest Territories.
The mining aspect of his book “came naturally,” said McCavour, 83. “But it took a lot of (work) to make it chronologically and geographically correct.”
The story — coming in at 512 pages — follows the two protagonists separately through their first 28 years of life, before they meet over the negotiation table.
His work also deals with many of the local issues faced by people in Canada’s north, including environmental and cultural genocide, aboriginal rights, substance abuse, crime, suicide, and the effect of climate change on ice roads, tree lines, permafrost, and year-round access to the Arctic.
While he joked he could “write a geology article out of my head,” Bloody Diamonds has taken three years to reach the point of publication.
“I would throw away whole chapters” as he worked his way through the process of writing, said McCavour.
McCavour, who lives in Nottawa and started skiing in the area in 1955, is already at work on his next two books: a sequel to Bloody Diamonds, for release in 2015; and a children’s book, The Keyhole, to be released this year.
He’s also a member of the Sound Investment community choir, and a master gardener.
“It’s always been my ambition to write a novel,” he said. “I just felt I had a story to tell about mining diamonds and the north.”
The book, published by Createspace, is available through Amazon.
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