Lincoln Cathedral – my new novel April 2018


Jack Borden, an RCAF pilot, is in Halifax awaiting transport to

England. There he meets Shelagh Pearson of the RCAF Women's Division

also awaiting orders. A complicated whirlwind wartime courtship ensues.

is is primarily Jack's story. Gaps between the Second World War

and present day 2007 are . lled and augmented via Jack's recollections of

experiences as a Lancaster bomber pilot, wartime letters and  ashbacks.

Shelagh and Jack's daughters, Karen and Cassandra, are born shortly after

the war. Shelagh continues to de. ne her own course. Shelagh's covert

involvement in cold war undercover activities, demands the family's return

to post-war Scotland where Jack nurtures toddler Karen in a role reversal.

Eventually Shelagh's prowess as a photographer returns them to Canada

where Jack re-establishes himself in journalism.

By 2007, Jack, alone without Shelagh, develops symptoms resembling

dementia, perhaps Alzheimer's but daughter Karen, a physician, is never

convinced. Jack’s grandson Jeremy and his friend, Roberto, both graduate

students experiment with a cure.

When Jack's dementia appears to ameliorate, Karen, unaware of

unethical experimentation, arranges a revisit to Jack's former air. eld.

Lincoln Cathedral remains a bold foundational symbol that enfolds the plot.


FORMAT:  E-Book. Buy from: FriesenPress Bookstore



FORMAT:  Paperback. FriesenPress Bookstore

FORMAT:  Hard Cover. FriesenPress Bookstore

  Neither Thomas Stephenson nor Cassandra Borden is aware the other is  working in post-war Kosova. Both are  forensic microbiologists, although Tom  appears as a magazine writer on  assignment. His e-mail correspondence tells  a different story – he is  working undercover for the Microbiology Intelligence  Network (MIN), a  Canadian organization with links to government.

 Cassie is a novice in foreign  assignments and a stranger to intrigue. She is  helping re-establish a microbiology laboratory  service at the University of  Prishtinë Health Centre at  the request of the World Health Organization.

 Tom's role with MIN involves assessing possible bioterrorist threats. When he  and his driver/interpreter, Agron Shalla, encounter a mysterious illness in  young adults with fever and influenza-like symptoms manifesting as severe  arthritis, the new virology laboratory grows an unusual virus that Tom  recognizes as chikungunya virus. Tom and Agron suspect Soviet involvement and the possibility of Kosova's use as a testing ground for biological weapons. They realize the Yugoslav government of the day must have been actively or passively complicit.

Tom and Cassie's relationship develops over the two years following their meeting in Prishtinë until Tom's mental state deteriorates. 

The effect of war, international service, life from an ethnic Albanian point-of-view is explored via Tom's magazine articles, interviews, e-mail correspondence with friends and family in Canada and through Tom and Cassie's conversations with some of the many characters appearing throughout. The intersection of Mother Teresa and Bill Clinton Boulevards is an important landmark in Prishtinë, capital of Kosova, and a perfect metaphor for involvement in the war, reconstruction, and saints and sinners.

 FORMAT:  E-Book. Buy from: Kindle, iBooks, Kobo, Nook, 

 FORMAT:  Softcover.


Review by Claire Sullivan, author of Master Gardener

Hi Steve. Just finished reading AfterMath and want to let you know my thoughts. What a book! It has a great depth to it and yet was simple to read; I got through it very quickly. I really do like how you included the emails; this IS how we communicate today and every Subject Line – every line – has meaning. (shades of grey does this well too.) But your narrative is/was surprising to me. I thought I knew the story, yet there was so much more that I’d not heard at CAA meetings. Intrigue, politics, humanity – this truly is a wonderful  well-written thoughtful story and congratulations on its completion.  It is a fine story and frightening in its outscome. So much to think about.I would love to know the recipe for Sweet Potato Casserole a la Pat Borders.Talk soon,Claire


Customer reviews from
5.0 out of 5 stars Love and plague in Kosova! Oct. 27 2013
Amazon Verified Purchase
Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro commented on CBC radio once about an obsession she developed with Albania and Albanian culture before she wrote one of her famous stories, 'The Albanian Bride.' Alas, I've not yet read that story, but my own fascination with all things Shqiptar was greatly gratified by reading J. Stephen Thompson's subtle medical adventure story, 'The Aftermath.' Thompson, unlike Munro, was actually there on the ground in Eastern Europe. He was one of several Canadian public health professionals helping in the rebuilding of Kosova, and his evocations of the scenes, people and cultural motifs he experienced are as nuanced and sharp as one could wish.

The story itself begins so unobtrusively that for the first few chapters, I wasn't certain if I was reading a novel or a sort of extended, lightly fictionalized New Yorker piece about the rebuilding of public health in Kosova. The text was always interesting, though, and I was still reading along effortlessly when, in section 3, the plot really set its hooks into me. After that, there was no stopping the read: it barrelled along like a bus with no brakes on a Macedonian mountain road.

Thompson's style is plainspoken. It cuts discreetly into and out of perspectives in a way that feels like a William Burroughs story unscrambled to put its chronology back in order. There is no groping for aphoristic phrasing, temple-bell metaphor or high, painterly description; but, as Ernest Hemingway showed, we can tell a story as a story in straightforward text and still make the lines of poetry start to hum. In fact, there is plenty of insight here - about love, about ethnic relations, about bureaucracy, about friendship - and the mosaic style that Thompson has devised communicates it well.

Those of us with a scientific background can also compliment Thompson on the accuracy of his information about microbiology and bioterror. This gritty factuality holds both his plot and his scenery together. We can also give him high-fives for keeping the writing vivid and accessible to every reader, even those who wonder if a virus and a bacterium aren't pretty much the same thing. OK, we could give him one red mark on the Quality Control sheet for erroneously extending the range of the feared virus-transmitting mosquito, Aedes aegyptii, into Canada and Kosova. If he'd gone out on a limb, though, and cited Aedes albopictus instead (even though it lacks A. aegyptii's literary fame as the death whine of yellow fever and dengue haemorrhagic fever), then he would have been on solid speculative ground. Something for the next edition, perhaps.

I recommend that anyone who appreciates that you can draw compelling novels out of love and plague - reference 'Love in the Time of Cholera' by Gabriel García Márquez - read J. Stephen Thompson's book. Gëzuar! (Cheers!)
Review from GoodReads

Mark Rogerson

As a kid, I loved geography, and one of the countries that intrigued me was Albania. In those days, it was locked away under the regime of Enver Hoxha, and it was an inaccessible state, unless you were invited in from Mao's China. I saw the coast of Albania one night, when I was 21, while I was on the ferry from Italy to the Greek island of Kerkyra. After that, I took the train over to Thessaloniki and then up to Skopje, which at the time was the capital city of the Macedonian province within Yugoslavia. While wandering around town, I saw a poster written in Albanian, a minority language. It clearly advertised a concert of some kind. I took a copy into the local tourist office for translation, and there I got my first introduction to Balkan politics.  

"Why do you want to go to that?" the usually friendly English-speaking man at the counter demanded. He clearly disapproved. I explained I liked music from the region, having heard some on CBC radio at home. He raised his eyebrows in incredulity and went back to the Macedonian-speaking office staff to ask if anyone there could translate Albanian. Clearly, my request was something new. One woman was eventually found who could give me the location and other details. 

When I arrived at the concert with my traveling companion, we were nearly greeted as heroes - imagine, Canadians coming to a local Albanian folk music show. Minorities appreciate the support when they can get it. 

Next door to Macedonia is the region then known as Kosovo-Mithoyan, dominated at the time by Serbia. After the breakup of Yugoslavia, as everyone knows, the ethnic tensions I'd observed boiled over, and the Albanians rebelled against the Serbs and set up their own state, Kosova (usually known in the west by its Serbian name, Kosovo).  

The Aftermath is a novel based on the experiences of the author, Steve Thompson, with the Albanians of Kosova. Thompson had had a distinguished career as head of a regional public health laboratory in Canada, and was invited along with his equally expert spouse, Donna Thompson, to help in the rebuilding of Kosova's public health system.  

At this point in his life, Thompson had become interested in writing a novel, and in Kosova, the pieces all fell together. The Aftermath is purely fictional, but it leans very discreetly on Thompson's public health background as it sets forth a suspenseful tale involving political tensions and intrigues, international understandings and misunderstandings, and a deadly disease. This well paced story simmers comfortably into its plot at the beginning, and then the suspense hikes up remarkably and it's a roller-coaster to the end. A lot of work went into this book, which was critiqued by several good writers before it went to press, but it shows no signs of strain. Nor is it the kind of nerd-fest that the topic name 'public health' might imply. This is a good read.  

Perhaps I'm predisposed as an Albanophile, but I think many others would join me in saying, 'well done.' 





 BomberCrew was self-published by the author, Jack E. Thompson, in 1989.  This second edition has been re-published to acknowledge the 60th anniversary  of VE-Day, to commemorate 2005 as the Year of the Veteran and to help  celebrate the life of Jack E. Thompson (1923-2003). Some additional material  including photographs, not available for the original version, have been added  by the author's son, Stephen Thompson.

 Bomber Crew is the record of a tour of duty of the crew of the Lancaster  bomber G-George of Bomber Command 12 Squadron based at RAF base  Wickenby, Lincolnshire. This is a story of the bonds formed among seven men,  five Canadian with the RCAF and two English with the RAF, bonds that lasted  their lifetimes. This is the story of the happenstance and chaos of "crewing  up", of endless "practice, practice, practice" sessions, and the excitement and  terror of late-night bombing runs over occupied Europe and deep into  Germany.

The author and his crew would suggest that their tour was very ordinary and unremarkable. From data declassified post-war, they learned otherwise, that it was remarkable that these seven crew members survived the war and returned to civilian life. Only 40% of Bomber Command aircrew survived the war, and not all of those without physical or psychological injury.

FORMAT: Softcover. Buy on-line from  Trafford Publishing,, Chapters Indigo

FORMAT: E-Book. Buy from Kobo, KindleiBooks




 Subtitled "The Photographic Eye of Jack E. Thompson, Reflections Through A  Special Lens is a tribute to the author's late father. Jack Thompson was a  well-known photographer and newspaper editor in Parry Sound, Ontario.

 The author, Stephen Thompson, has assembled 50 of his father's black and  white photographs of the rocks, clouds, trees, wind and water, and some  birds, insects and plants, of the Parry Sound area on Georgian Bay. The photos  of this collection date from 1952 to 2002 and were specially selected to  represent the span of Jack's photographic career and to honour his own desire  to publish a book of similar photographs. Reflections from the title reveals  many of the photographic images in the book, since Jack was often looking for  reflected images to complete the photographic tales of his compositions, to  provide a hint of "the bigger picture."

Reflections also describes Stephen Thompson's thoughts, interpretations, remembrances and analyses when revisiting his father's body of work. In addition to Jack Thompson's photographs, the author has included a selection of his own black and white images from the Carden plain and Haliburton areas of Ontario. As a special tribute to his father's generational influence, the author has also included a series of his son Alex's black and white photography. Alex Thompson is Jack Thompson's grandson and his selections come from the Gatineau, Quebec region.

FORMAT: Softcover. Buy on-line from  Trafford Publishing,

FORMAT: E-Book. Buy from Kobo, Kindle, iBooks





 Eight regulars of the Raven Cafe meet for morning coffee and conversation. Three  days in June change their lives.

 Collaborative fiction by eight authors living in Central Ontario.

 FORMAT: Softcover. 

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