A gripping, shocking story of history, enlightement and slavery from the bestselling author of THE FANATIC. JOSPEH KNIGHT will confirm James Robertson as one of our foremost novelists.
Exiled to Jamaica after the Battle of Culloden in 1746, Sir John Wedderburn made a fortune, alongside his three brothers, as a faux surgeon and sugar planter. In the 1770s, he returned to Scotland to marry and re-establish the family name. He brought with him Joseph Knight, a black slave and a token of his years in the Caribbean.
Now, in 1802, Sir John Wedderburn is settling his estate, and has hired a solicitor's agent, Archibald Jamieson, to search for his former slave. The past has haunted Wedderburn ever since Culloden, and ever since he last saw Knight, in court twenty-four years ago, in a case that went to the heart of Scottish society, pitting master against slave, white against black, and rich against poor.
As long as Knight is missing, Wedderburn will never be able to escape the past. Yet what will he do if Jamieson's search is successful? And what effect will this re-opening of old wounds have on those around him? Meanwhile, as Jamieson tries to unravel the true story of Joseph Knight he begins to question his own motivation. How can he possibly find a man who does not want to be found?
James Robertson's second novel is a tour de force, the gripping story of a search for a life that stretches over sixty years and moves from battlefields to the plantations of Jamaica, from Enlightenment Edinburgh to the back streets of Dundee. It is a moving narrative of history, identity and ideas, that dramatically retells a fascinating but forgotten episode of Scottish history.
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Praise for THE FANATIC
•'A remarkable book.'
Andrew Marr, Observer
•'Robertson takes not just history but the notion of history; not just the question of what truth is but the act of questioning itself and breathes and extraordinary life into them… In this complex, superbly claustrophobic novel where everything is meticulously researched, and just as importantly, meticulously imagined, he urges us to see ourselves anew.'
Scotland on Sunday
• 'Scottish history has never been so gripping.' Sunday Herald
• ' The Fanatic is a rattling good read.'
Independent on Sunday
Exiled to Jamaica after the horrors of the Battle of Culloden, the young Sir John Wedderburn quickly made a fortune, alongside his three brothers, as a sugar planter. When he returned to Scotland to marry and re-establish the family name, he brought with him Joseph Knight, a black slave, one of the first in Scotland, a token of his years in the Caribbean. At the end of his life, long after the Edinburgh court case which went to the heart of Scottish society, pitting master against slave, property against freedom, Wedderburn tries to track down Joseph Knight who has been missing for twenty-four years and whom he has never forgotten.
From the Highland battlefields to the Caribbean, from Enlightenment Edinburgh to the back streets of Dundee, James Robertson's second novel is a tour de force that dramatically retells a fascinating but forgotten episode in Scottish history.
Praise for 'The Fanatic:'
'Utterly compelling…the sort of debut that sadly comes along only too rarely.'
'Scottish history has never been so gripping.'
'A remarkable book'
Andrew Marr, 'Observer'
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Book Description Fourth Estate, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0007150245