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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Terrific first novel
It's always great to find a really enjoyable first novel from a new author. The Redemption of Alexander Seaton delivers atmosphere, historical detail, characters and intrigue in shed loads. I hope it's the first of many.

One thing that would have really enhanced the book for me would have been the inclusion of a map of old Banff and the surrounding area.
Published on 30 Jan 2009 by Page turner

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Heavy going
To slow paced for me, and I found the style of language used difficult to follow. For reader who like historical who done its they will probably love it.
Published 15 months ago by Mr. J. S. Gregory


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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Terrific first novel, 30 Jan 2009
It's always great to find a really enjoyable first novel from a new author. The Redemption of Alexander Seaton delivers atmosphere, historical detail, characters and intrigue in shed loads. I hope it's the first of many.

One thing that would have really enhanced the book for me would have been the inclusion of a map of old Banff and the surrounding area.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 21 July 2009
By 
love reading "marsy" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Redemption of Alexander Seaton (Paperback)
This was a fantastic read. The historical detail was extremely interesting and authentic. I am very interested in religious history in Scotland so it was perfect reading for me.. Besides that, there is a throroughly engaging story, endearing characters and a real moral message in the novel. My only complaint is that all the characters were a bit confusing at the beginning and I had to keep reading over who everyone was. Overall though, I absolutely loved this!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Redemption of Alexander Seaton, 15 Jun 2013
By 
S Riaz "S Riaz" (England) - See all my reviews
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Set in Scotland in 1626, this is an atmospheric and intelligent historical mystery. When we first meet Alexander Seaton he is a man who feels he has lost the respect of both his community and himself. Having been a promising scholar, he had hopes of becoming a minister, only to be humilated and his chances ruined when he was denounced by the father of an old friend. So, when he leaves the inn, where he had been previously drinking with his friends; the doctor James Jaffray and singing master Charles Thom (himself in the throes of despair over a girl who loves another), he wants to be out of the current storm and back in his bed in the schoolhouse - where he is now teaching - to nurse his woes. When a man calls to him for help, he assumes he is in his cups and ignores him, only to find him sprawled, dead across his desk, the next morning.

The man who is dead is Patrick Davidson, Charles Thom's rival in love, making him the prime suspect. When Thom is arrested, Jaffray and Seaton vow to prove his innocence. During this novel, we are taken from the fishing town of Banff, to Aberdeen, the fine castle of the Laird of Straloch, the cave of a woman healer and the shacks of outcast beggars. Seaton must not only discover who killed Patrick Davidson, but try to uncover possible papist plots and, more importantly, come to peace with himself. This really is a very good start to a promising historical mystery series, with a great setting and interesting characters. I look forward to reading more novels featuring Alexander Seaton and the world he inhabits.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read this!, 24 Feb 2011
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This review is from: The Redemption of Alexander Seaton (Paperback)
You must read this! I've lent it to several friends now and they all adored it, whether they are fans of historical thrillers or not. The title tells it all, this is a book about people, with at least a dozen characters remarkably well developed, three-dimensional and realistic. People to care about and have opinions about, especially Seaton himself and I'm delighted to find 'A Game of Sorrows' continues his story (just ordered it!) This is literature, fine language, finely crafted, I had dreams about Alexander's world for several nights after I had finished the book, which tells me it gets inside your head, and that's what you want from good fiction. A real winner!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent starter; great plot, characters and narrative., 10 April 2013
By 
Bookie (UK) - See all my reviews
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Ms Maclean had me gripped right from the start with this atmospheric murder mystery set in 17th century Scotland. There was an almost palpable sense of claustrophobia in the first half of the book where suspicion, gossip and finger pointing is typical of any small, isolated rural area. The story opens up when the main character travels to Aberdeen. The sense of a bustling academic world and the external European influences are well brought together.

The main character is fallible. He's flawed, but as clearly suggested in the title, salves his conscience by the end of the tale, and his misdeeds are placed in perspective. I had a real sense of the power and influence of the 'kirk' in this tale. It's clearly well researched and the fear, suspicion and threat raised by the Papists is placed in an interesting context. Themes of love and loss are explored alongside some thought provoking treatment of individuals who are less well placed and the way double standards are tolerated. A very enjoyable read and an excellent twist on the murder mystery premise in an historical setting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed reading this Scottish story, 4 Jan 2013
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A historial novel set in the early seventeenth century, depicting life in Banff, a remote northern Scottish county town. At times perhaps a little slow moving, the story, full of intrigue, and using well defined characters, unfolds in a background of witchcraft and superstition. As I am familiar with the places named and described, my bias favouring this book may show.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Heavy going, 30 Dec 2012
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To slow paced for me, and I found the style of language used difficult to follow. For reader who like historical who done its they will probably love it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric, 27 Jan 2011
This review is from: The Redemption of Alexander Seaton (Paperback)
The Redemption of Alexander Seaton was a fantastic read. There is a great deal of historical atmosphere in the book yet it still retains the ability to work as a good thriller. There are elements of murder, witchcraft, espionage, religious persecution and a very clear depiction of a 17th Century strict religious town. In that way it did remind me a little in descriptions of Hawthorne's A Scarlet Letter, though this time with a male protagonist.
Alexander Seaton at 26 was a great deal younger a character than I expected that he would be, but the character I had hoped he would be in the novel was present in the guise of the doctor and that made for a good addition to the plot.
I do agree with the previous reviewer that recommended that a map be included with the story, for the first few chapters you do tend to grapple with the location of the position of the sea, the guarded town gates, the actual village and the more rural areas where the victims were located.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping tale, 15 Aug 2008
By 
S. Welham (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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I could not put this book down. Who needs a time machine when you have authors who write like this? I was in Banff and I really wanted to know who had done the horrible deed. One of the best books I have read this year.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top marks for Ms. MacLean - a wonderful book!, 8 Aug 2008
By 
L. J. Roberts (Oakland, CA, USA) - See all my reviews
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First Sentence: The younger of the two whores rifled the man's pockets with expert fingers.

Young Alexander Seaton, disallowed from becoming a minister, is now a teacher in his town of Banff, Scotland. He sees a man who staggers and falls on the street during a dark, wet night, but doesn't stop to help.

With morning comes the revelation that the man was the apprentice to the town apothecary and nephew to the town proctor. He had also been poisoned and found dead in Alexander's classroom. Alexander's friend, Charles Thom, who has also been living with the apothecary, is arrested for the murder. It falls to Alexander to prove his friend's innocence.

There was so much to this book, it's hard to know where to begin. Though it's not necessary indicative of excellent writing, I thought it interesting that Ms. MacLean is the niece to author Alistair MacLean (Guns of Navarone). Both MacLeans excel at bringing the reader into the story. From there, they are vastly different.

Ms. McLean makes real life in 1626 Scotland; the time of Charles I, after the dissolution and separation from Rome, but during a time of Knox and Melville Presbyterianism, religious prejudice and the rise of witch hunts. It's a story of murder, ambition, fear and bigotry, but also of strength, goodness and that we never truly know how we are perceived by others.

Alexander is a wonderful protagonist who becomes very real as his story unfolds throughout the story. A cast of characters would have been helpful, in the beginning, but all the characters are fully dimensional so it quickly became a non-issue. I did appreciate the short glossary at the end.

The story is dense and rich with detail and emotion, compassion and suspense. There was never a point where I wasn't compelled to turn the page and read more. It's a powerfully evocative book with wonderful historic detail that never overshadows an engrossing story.

I should love for this to be the first of a series. Even if it's not, I shall definitely read whatever Ms. MacLean writes next.
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The Redemption of Alexander Seaton
The Redemption of Alexander Seaton by S. G. MacLean (Paperback - 7 May 2009)
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