Journalist. Author. Diver.
EXPLORATION IS CURIOSITY
Mark Cowan is the writer behind the upcoming non-fiction book Between the Devil and the Deep, the true story of the bends, told through the eyes of a British explorer pitched into a natural hell; paralysed and trapped underwater with nowhere to go but sink back into the deep.
An award winning journalist, he spent a decade covering the crime beat for broadsheet and tabloid newspapers in the UK, reporting on issues as diverse as street gangs and gun crime, home-grown terrorism, race riots, football hooliganism and honour killings. He has written separately for the European Union on humanitarian and development aid, and was embedded with the British Army during peace-keeping efforts in war-torn Kosovo.
His work on underwater exploration has also appeared in numerous scuba diving publications, including Sport Diver, Tanked Up and online with leading industry brands Fourth Element and Dive Worldwide.
His reporting on gun crime in the UK for the Birmingham Mail, investigating illegal firearms used in multiple gang-related shootings, including multiple homicides, became the subject of the BAFTA-winning documentary film Gun Number 6.
BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP
One of the best accounts ever written of deep water diving and its staggering, haunting dangers. But Cowan goes much deeper – into the soul of an explorer and what it means to answer the eternal human instinct to discover beautiful and mysterious worlds never before seen by human eyes.
Robert Kurson, author of New York Times bestseller Shadow Divers
Deep underwater lurks a mysterious illness. It has gone by many names over the years – Satan’s disease, diver’s palsy, the chokes. Today, medics call it decompression sickness. You know it as the bends.
That’s the devil British diver Martin Robson faced when in the winter of 2012, he led an expedition to the mountainous borderlands of southern Russia in search of a submerged cave system never seen by the human eye. On the final day of the expedition, Robson dived deeper into the lake than anyone before, and as he returned from the bottom disaster struck: just 75 feet down, he was paralysed
Between the Devil and the Deep is the first book to tell the terrifying true story of what it feels like to get the bends as writer Mark Cowan takes you on into the body and mind of a man who suffered the unthinkable. The book also delves into the grimly fascinating history of decompression sickness and the stories of the forgotten divers who pushed the limits of physical endurance to help find a solution.
Hardback and e-book available at Amazon, Waterstones, Foyles, Barnes & Noble and all good bookshops.
Some of My Latest Stories
LOST TO THE BENDS AND IN THE EDIT, THE STORY OF WALTER TRAPNELL
Writers, as the advice goes, must be prepared to “kill your darlings” in the edit, cutting unnecessary scenes for pace. For non-fiction authors those darlings can be unknown they've worked hard to dig out. The following is one such darling.
RESEARCHING BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP: BEHIND THE CURTAIN TO MEET THE DOCTOR
It's not everyday you get invited to a secret Russian research facility to meet a living legend. While researching Between the Devil and the Deep I joined Martin Robson as he returned to Moscow to meet the man who saved his life and his legs.
UNDER PRESSURE: WHAT HAPPENS WHEN DISASTER STRIKES UNDERWATER
Explorer Martin Robson went to Russia to find a cave system rumoured to lie hidden in the depths of a mysterious lake. Robson’s search took him more than 200 metres down. As he returned from the bottom he was ambushed by the bends. Writer Mark Cowan tells the story.