The Flight of the Heron
By D. K. Broster
Why this book?
Much Scottish historical fiction is set at the time of the 1745 uprising against the Hanoverian King George II by supporters of Charles Edward Stuart, known as Bonnie Prince Charlie. This is not surprising since it was a deeply traumatic time, which has left scars to this day. The first I read as a young teenager was written by an Englishwoman, D.K. Broster, in the 1920’s: The Flight of the Heron, the first of a trilogy (the others were The Gleam in the North and The Dark Mile).
This book made me into a Jacobite, despite my own forbears being mostly Lowlanders, who would probably have fought for King George. It tells the exciting, tense, and tragic epic of the ’45 through the stories of Ewen Cameron of Ardroy, a kinsman of Cameron of Lochiel, and a discontented army officer called Keith Windham; their paths cross several times and, despite themselves, they become friends. Since loyalty to chieftain was an article of faith to Highlanders in the 18th century, Ewen (who has ‘the second sight’) has some very stark and difficult choices to make. Dorothy Broster did not shrink from using Gaelic words, which adds to the strangeness and mystery of the tale.
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