I found Debateable Land invigorating and infuriating in equal measure. McWilliam has a wonderful eye for detail, if not for true characterisation; each of the novel's characters bears some form of stigmata that reflect their domestic origins, though none of them are ultimately 100% convincing. Nevertheless, the text raises essential questions about the direction in which Britain (and more specifically the devolution project) is headed. The title refers to the 'Debateable Lands', land lying between Scotland and England when they were distinct kingdoms which perenially switched between English and Scots rule. Set on a boat in a masterfully evoked South Pacific, the relationships between the characters and their tangled pasts combine beautifully to produce a highly wrought sense of unease and confusion throughout the voyage, reflected in the boat's troubled passage. Determined readers will find much to enjoy here, if they manage to overcome the rather dense prose and oblique nautical references. Well worth a shot.