This volume weaves together the Scottish otter stories from Gavin Maxwell's three non-fiction books, Ring of Bright Water (1960), The Rocks Remain (1963), and Raven Meet Thy Brother (1969). Maxwell was both an extraordinarily evocative writer and a highly unusual man. While touring the Iraqi marshes, he was captivated by an otter and became a devoted advocate of and spokesman for the species. He moved to a remote house in the Scottish highlands, co-habiting there with three otters and living an idyllic and isolated life at least for a while. Fate, fame, and fire conspired against this paradise, and it, too, came to an end, though the journey was filled with incident and wonder.
Maxwell was also talented as an artist, and his sinuous line drawings of these amphibious and engaging creatures, and the homes they occupied, illustrate his story. This book stands as a lasting tribute to a man, his work, and his passion. It was received and has endured as a classic for its portrait not only of otters but also of a man who endured heartaches and disappointments, whose life embodied both greatness and tragedy. He writes with rare eloquence about his birth, his devotion to the beloved Scottish highlands, and the wildlife he loved, while refusing to ignore the darker aspects of his nature and of nature in its larger sense.
Maxwell's legacy has been preserved at the Eilean Ban Trust and Bright Water Visitor Centre (www.eileanban.org).