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Company of Stone: A Memoir

Say what you will, but the spirit of a place takes on an important role in the affairs of humans. Whether in an old house, an empty theater, a cemetery, where there was some past conflict, a tangible energy haunts such places, and it can attach itself to a visitor from the present... With yet unhealed wounds from recent combat in SE Asia, John Moore undertook an unexpected walking tour in the rugged Scottish highlands. With the approach of a season of freezing rainstorms he took shelter in a remote monastery-a chance encounter that would change his future, his beliefs about blind chance, and the unexpected courses by which the best in human nature can smuggle its way into the life of a stranger. He did not anticipate the brotherhood's easy hospitality or the surprising variety of personalities and guarded backgrounds that soon emerged through their silent community. Afterwards, a chance conversation overheard in a village pub steered him to Canada, where he took a job as a rock drill operator in a large industrial gold mine. The dangers he encountered among the lost men in that dangerous other world, secretive men who sought permanent anonymity in the perils of work deep underground-a brutal kind of monasticism itself-challenged both his endurance and his sense of humanity. With sensitivity and delightful good humor, Moore explores the surprising lessons learned in these strangely rich fraternities of forgotten men-a brotherhood housed in crumbling medieval masonry, and one shared in the unforgiving depths of the gold mine. This engaging adventure of discovery is full of insight, revelations, and surprises. -Gary Chafetz, author of The Search for the Lost Army: The National Geographic and Harvard University Expedition
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