Dusty Dreams & Troubled Waters: A Story of HMCS Sackville and The Battle of the Atlantic by Brian Bowman and Richard Rudnicki

A great way to introduce younger readers to Canadian history, Nimbus Publishing of Nova Scotia has released a graphic novel that’s suitable for all ages. In Dusty Dreams & Troubled Waters, we have Wally, a young man from the prairies who has never seen a boat, let alone an ocean. He enlists in the RCN during WWII and is eventually assigned to the corvette HMCS Sackville (which exists as a museum ship in Halifax harbour) a type of ship that the Canadian navy became famous for as hundreds were built as convoy escorts. The artwork by Richard Rudnicki (who recently passed away) is remarkable and is very authentic in its recreation of life aboard a small ship on the stormy Atlantic ocean.

Artwork from page 60.

Aside from The Battle of the Atlantic, there is Wally’s backstory of life on the prairies, including Winnie, his love interest. The juxtaposition is such that Wally represents all those who enlisted in the “Wavy Navy”: they were not career officers and sailors, they came from all parts of Canada, leaving behind all manner of trades to assist England and the Allies defeat Hitler’s Nazi Army and Navy. The ever-present threat of death from below in the form of a U-boat wolfpack is real and is well portrayed in the dramatic black and white panels and brief text. A map and a glossary is also included. As a naval enthusiast, this is a welcome addition to my Canadian Navy shelf.

Brian Bowman grew up in the Qu’Appelle Valley of southern Saskatchewan, where his family raised politics, grain, and cattle. After grad school, an adventurous nature led him to try many vocations before settling on a writing career that evolved from speeches and advertising to journalism and editing. Still a resident of Saskatchewan, he now writes graphic novels and mostly true stories drawn from Canadian history. Dusty Dreams and Troubled Waters is his first book.

Richard Rudnicki (1951–2019) is the award-winning illustrator of Abigail’s WishCyrus EatonGracie the Public Gardens DuckI Spy a Bunny, and Viola Desmond Won’t Be BudgedDusty Dreams and Troubled Waters is his first graphic novel. Richard passed away suddenly in 2019 and is survived by his partner, artist Susan Tooke, who finished the illustrations for this project on his behalf. Susan lives in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia.

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Nimbus Publishing (June 24 2021)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 180 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1771087587
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1771087582

James M. Fisher is the owner and editor-in-chief of The Miramichi Reader. He began TMR in 2015, realizing that there was a genuine need for more book reviews of Canadian literature. It has since become Canada’s best-regarded source for the finest in new literary releases. James has been interviewed about TMR on CBC Radio and other media sites. James works as a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Technologist and lives in Miramichi, New Brunswick with his wife Diane and their tabby cat Eddie.