The Brother Keepers

about the author

John E. (Ted) MacNintch PhotoCurrently residing in Old Saybrook, Conn ecticut, Dr. John E. (Ted) MacNintch is a former native of Maritime Canada with strong Nova Scotia roots. He became interested in the history of the involvement of five of his relatives in the Great War and in the Scottish military tradition in Canada while employed as Director of Scientific Information for Bristol-Myers Squibb. Upon retirement, he applied his scientific information-retrieval and writing skills to researching World War I over a ten-year period in an effort to create a novel that is entertaining, emotional and very informative with special emphasis on verisimilitude. He spends his summers with his wife Joan, writing, boating and kayaking in the Thousand Islands region of Upper New York State.

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Ted MacNintch in his library
Ted MacNintch in his library

Reviews and Correspondence


 “A historical war novel which rivals in sweep of narrative the daunting compositions of a James Michener -- an innovative novel which respects all the best traditions of adventure story telling, but which also deftly includes a non-fiction underpinning in the form of a separate and reliable narrative thread -- it reeks of effort, perhaps even obsession, but certainly of great intelligence.”  Canadian Military Biography. Volume 2, No 2, Review by Ron Jack, Editor, 2008. 

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"The Brother Keepers: The Great War Saga of Sable MacInnes and His Brothers", American Branch of the Western Front Association, Review

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"Clan Member Ted MacNintch Publishes Epic Historical Novel,
Saga of 5 MacInnes Family Members Set against Nova Scotia and WW1", Review by Donna Copen McKinnis, Vice President – Culture, October 2007

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Writer's Digest International Self-Published Book Awards Contest - solid 80% rating.

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"Ted, Thanks so much for a very informative and interesting book. I agree with Robert that this book has most of the ingredients for a good movie....It was so interesting that I purposely paced myself so as to make it longer. I wish there was still more to read. Best wishes in your future endeavors, and again, thanks for an absorbing read and for your personal notation. I'll be lending your book to my brother-in-law, also a retired Infantry Officer, and a bagpipe player." Harry Libby, Middleton, Wisconsin.

“Your description of the strategic, tactical and bloody details of the Somme and other battles is a testament to your research abilities. I really felt the oozy mud, the sheer terror, and the stench of the trench. Ted, I'm on about page 470, finding myself worrying if I, or others, will ever reconcile a personal, forgiving God with the horrors of war, mankind against mankind.  As you point out, there have been 1500 wars in the 3000 years of "civilized" mankind.  We aren't learning very quickly, are we?  Would a caring, personal, benevolent God let us wander, seemingly forever, in search of a sustained period of peace?  An eye for an eye!  The 6th commandment, Do unto others---. With today's decline in organized religion, don't we need a reminder of those days when God-fearing people did what was "right", wondering if God agreed?  Is God a personal encounter or is God an abstract ideal that serves mankind over time, but not the individual in the moment?? Thanks for awakening in my conscience these basic questions and for awakening me to the CEF role in WW1.”  Dr Robert Libby, Kirksville, Missouri.

“The book is so good that I am reading slowly because I don’t want to get to the end. You have a magnificent way with words. I feel like I am in the trenches. Did you put yourself in the love scene on the sand bar to write it so vividly or is this a fantasy from your youth.” Stan Tingley, Carrabassett Valley, Maine.

“Loved The Brother Keepers. I must tell you that Joe and I read your book.  Harry Libby loaned us the autographed copy that he had and we so appreciated reading it. 
Joe (my husband) is quite the history buff and he totally enjoyed your book and then I read it.  I am a fan of Anne Perry and read her series on World War I and I must say that her work was really preparing me to read your book.  I thought the story was incredible, and it has become one of my favorites.  Such a favorite that I want to add it to our library and read it again. 
I am now going to go onto the website and order it. Thank you so much for such a wonderful weaving of history with a solid and captivating story”.
Jeane Flesch, Clarksburg, Maryland.

“I’m only about 200 pages into The Brother Keepers and have thoroughly enjoyed it so far. You certainly have the skill of putting words together to make an entertaining story. I am amazed at the great detail with which you write of the lives and customs of your ancestors in Nova Scotia.” Dr Joseph Yevich, Connecticut.

“The Brother Keepers is an excellent read if you wish to learn about five brothers growing up in pre 1914 Maritimes and then follow the paths of these boys through the war of 1914-1918. The book provides very detailed information about the politics behind the war effort and the techniques used by snipers. It also covers pipes and pipe bands along with graphic descriptions of trench warfare. The book is lengthy, but once you begin, it is difficult to put it down.” Ronald Booth, Waterloo, Ontario.

“Your Brother Keepers, was brilliant – wonderful work. Never having written a book, the research you had to do must have been mind boggling. The stories certainly make one proud to be a Canadian and a Maritimer as well. You put your heart and soul into that work, and you have to be very proud as I am of you.” Earl Miller, Truro, Nova Scotia.

“Ted, I enjoyed reading your book and I am very impressed with the amazing amount of research you must have done. Just so you don’t think I am going to carry on about how wonderful it is, I will say that at times there was way more detailed information than I wanted to know. However, that is definitely a personal thing because I am talking about subjects like the rifles and details of sniping. To many people that would be fascinating I’m sure. I did quite like the information about the bagpipes and the music. And of course I liked the stories about the minister and his family in the Maritimes. The Nova Scotia attitude and lingo is right on. You did a great job with the brothers particularly the three, and although I was attracted to Sable and his visions and forerunners and dedication to the family, I think my favorite is Ian. He is such a complex, thoughtful and sympathetic character (and a hell of a lover). My favorite character of all is the grandfather.” Margaret Beeler, Brule, Nova Scotia.

“Though I billed it as a historical novel situation, your book certainly fits into a growing genre which includes counter-factual works which point up different possible outcomes to historical events such as the American Civil War, and the books of the late Michael Shaara and his son Jeff.” Len Shurtleff, The Western Front Association.

“I have sent an e-mail to the War Museum in Ottawa recommending your book as the most comprehensive of any book I have seen on WWI. I have a collection of military books on both wars and yours is the best.” Vernon Vickery, Kentville, Nova Scotia.

“Your input from serious readers is wonderful, Ted. How could anyone be less impressed with the plethora of information on so many fronts―Maritime Celts, religion, family dynamics, snipers and pipers and so on. I agree with the person who said that you demand a lot from your readership, and anyone with a brain rejoices in that after all the fluff we are exposed to in the media. You must be very gratified to have the acknowledgement of serious readers of your opus.” Patricia Dyson, Berwick, Nova Scotia.

 “I am in the Battle of the Somme!  It was “some gory” as they would say in the Maritimes.  We had always heard about the bloodiness of WWI, but your writing and research has brought a vivid description of how it was.  Before I sent for the book I knew it was not a book that most women would want to read and with soldiers involved, I knew there would be "barnyard talk" but I am appreciative of a well told story and your knowledge of how it was in a very dark time in our history.  No wonder the survivors did not want to talk about it and I can only imagine their struggle to lead a normal life upon their return to Canada.  There are now two people who want to read your book when I am finished. Joan Johnson, Brentwood Bay, British Columbia.

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