The Deadly Five

Five unlikely partners undertake an epic adventure searching for gold. With danger at every turn, the men rely on one another for survival. Together they find more than gold, the greater treasurer of true friendship and brotherhood…

The story begins with Mean Mike, Nothing Brown, and Jacque traveling on the same steamer heading for Victoria and the Fraser River Gold Rush in 1859. On the steamer, Mean Mike finds Nothing Brown may be small but cannot be bullied. Not only will Nothing Brown not be bullied, but he looks to the safety of Mean Mike as a passed out drunk. Jacque, a former Hudson Bay fur trapper, knows of Nothing Brown from Oregon and respects him for his attitude towards breeds like himself. These three men form the core of a group of gold seekers, eventually known as the Deadly Five.

Their adventure in gold hunting is by canoe from Victoria across the Straits of Georgia to the British Columbia mainland and the Fraser River at New Westminster. There Seph, a former bartender, becomes a partner with the men.  As the men travel up the Fraser searching for gold Old Man Magee joins them at Fort Langley. It is between Fort Hope and Fort Yale that the men are in the thick of gold panning and using a rocker to find gold. Even as they find gold, it is with the willingness to split what is found equally between the five. Their gold search is a good success but not without an unwanted charge of being, ‘The Deadly Five.’ 

What Readers Say:

"Raymond Maher is a masterful storyteller who takes fans of historical fiction on a wild ride through the early years of the Fraser River Gold Rush in British Columbia, Canada. Banding together an unlikely group of fortune hunters, The Deadly Five, traces their adventure through treacherous mountain passes, unforgiving rivers, fantastic wild animal encounters and their own personal trials … and perhaps even a murder! Along the way they encounter some colorful historical characters including BC’s famous Hanging Judge, Matthew Begbie.

Maher’s extensive research gives his readers a compelling look at this fascinating time period and the rugged individuals who made the isolated BC wilderness come alive with dreams of untold riches. His colorful characters are both deeply flawed and delightfully amusing at times. Each one struggles with past failures, and perhaps unrealistic dreams, and each one rises to the occasion when the going gets tough – and it gets plenty tough at times! Readers will easily find a character they can relate to as they journey along with them into the 19th century BC wilderness. Watch out for the moose!"
Barbara Schmidt
Editor emeritus, Domac Publications


“Authentic historical events through absorbing

Raymond Maher is a lifelong storyteller and an award-winning writer. Some of his favorite stories to tell are ones of historical fiction. In his historical fiction stories, he seeks to enliven authentic, historical facts through absorbing fiction.

Raymond Maher majored in North American History for his B.A. in 1976. History has remained one of his passions first as a public school teacher, and also as an ordained minister of religion. As a pastor, Maher served congregations in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario. It enabled him to taste the heritage and living history of varied communities and the unique geography of Canada.  Living in the Peace River Region of northern Alberta, the Qu’Appelle Valley of Saskatchewan, the historic city of Stratford, Ontario, revealed to him the uniqueness and oneness of Canadian reality present and past. 

In retirement (2009), Maher began to write a religious column for several newspapers in Saskatchewan, and the column continues in 2020. The Deadly Five is Maher’s first novel, partly inspired by living near the Fraser River in Chilliwack B.C.  A reading of church history from Barkerville, a Cariboo Gold Rush town, gave Raymond the idea for a novel featuring the historical facts of the 1858 Fraser River Gold Rush through fiction. He felt such an exciting and vital part of the history of British Columbia should be retold.

Raymond loves to curl, garden, and create art, as well as focusing on his writing. Making people laugh seems to be his talent without trying to do so. He has four children and seven grandchildren and lives with his wife of fifty-three years near Historic Five Corners in Chilliwack, BC.

Writer’s Digest magazine’s 90th Annual Writing Competition Honorable Mention in the Inspirational or Spiritual category for “A Cuckoo on the Street.”

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