Fans of C.J. Sansom must read this Saltire Society Literary Awards Scottish First Book of the Year – a great non-fiction adventure about Scotland’s most notorious clan chief.
Lord Lovat was a spy, clan-chief, traitor, polyglot, deserter and philosopher. His wit, ambition and dubious morality thrust him repeatedly into the thick of political intrigue. A treacherous turncoat, and yet a martyr for Bonnie Prince Charlie’s dreams to retake the British throne, Lovat conjured a legend: a man whose loyalty had no home, whose sword had a price, and whose taste for risks led him into pacts with Catholics and Protestants, Scots and Englishmen.
The last nobleman to be executed for treason, Lovat was one of Scotland’s most notorious and romantic figures, and this swashbuckling account of his life creates an extraordinary portrayal of a nation in revolt. As Sarah Fraser argues, the defeat at Culloden led directly to the end of traditional Gaelic civilization; to the brutal clearances and ‘pacification’ of the Highlands which followed and the lost civilisations of Scotland that were destroyed after 1745 by English repression.