New book The Herdsman voices lesson in family and love

MESSAGE SHARED: The front cover of Peter Sykes' most recent book, The Herdsman, which tells the story of family, tradition and love amongst the setting of a Mongolian farmland. Photo: supplied.
MESSAGE SHARED: The front cover of Peter Sykes' most recent book, The Herdsman, which tells the story of family, tradition and love amongst the setting of a Mongolian farmland. Photo: supplied.

Author and photographer Peter Sykes explains the premise of his new book, The Herdsman, with a series of analogies.

The local builder said the Mongolian story of a young boy who challenges the guidance of his father and later becomes a respected leader, came about one night earlier this year.

“I don’t know where it comes from,” he admitted.

This is not something that bothers him, in fact, this is a part of his creative process he has long ago embraced. 

“We underestimate the garbage man,” he said. “A doctor heals people and diseases, the garbage man stops diseases and is just as important as the doctor.

“All these people want to be somebody, a politician or something important but it’s the people who get up every morning and go to work and look after their friends, they are actually making the country strong.

“Selflessness has its own reward.” 

The turbulent relationship is between Batsukh, the protagonist the reader follows throughout the narrative, and his father Jaagar. The perils of pursuing an infatuating love, the burden of the country when the young blindly race to the city and the priority in tradition –these themes dance through the A4 glossy landscape layout alongside Mr Sykes’ captivating photographs. 

Author and photographer Peter Sykes in his home.

Author and photographer Peter Sykes in his home.

"A picture tells a thousands words. I don’t go through a lot of description about the landscape, it’s about their story rather than how they look. The pictures gives you an idea of how and where they live,” he said. 

The Herdsman and his most recent children’s novel Wolf Boy will be reprinted in Mongolian. Unlike Wolf Boy he said The Herdsman is not constrained to a prescribed age group. 

“A good children’s book is what grandma likes reading to their grand kids. They’ve both got to get something out of it,” he said.

“I think a young boy going through his teenage years will think, maybe there are reasons why dad’s cranky about certain things. But a 40-year-old man can also read it and think, I was worried about my relationship with my father, and think differently because a lot of people go through that.” 

It is not overwhelming profits he seeks through the publication of his works, just the acknowledgement of a simple lifelong belief.

“I just have this belief you’re given ideas in life. I get ideas to do this and I just do it. If you’re given ideas you put it down and follow it through,” he said.

The Herdsman will soon be available for purchase at the Visitors Information Centre in Goulburn and Crookwell.

  • To order a copy of the book, call Peter on 0403 081 805.