342 pgs, 21 illustrations
ebook on iTunes
Castle - a rifled nest
by Mary Cecil Gladstone
#1 in the Highland Trilogy
"A Scottish Downton Abbey" - Maureen Hodge
Growing up with the pagan Broonie & the Archbishop, brought up in a castle and, though a second son, set to inherit another castle conveying the title of laird, influenced by his Crabbe & Lockhart military ancestors, trained to be an effective agent of empire through his classical, sporting public school education and his time at Oxford as a rower, flyer, and student of history, Angus Macdonald looked forward to a bright future. He joined the Argylls and embarked on a military career that put him on the front line in Malaya, in WW2 as Chief of Staff to various Commanders, where he lived in tents, out-ran tanks in his baby Fiat, and escaped, only to die at sea in unknown circumstances. Sixty years later, his niece Mary Gladstone sets out to retrace his life to find out why her uncleís mysterious death had so deeply affected her family. With scant evidence due to Angusís restraint & love of solitude, Mary succeeds in this tour de force, of giving her uncle a living place in the British narrative.
By recreating her uncleís life, Mary Gladstone confronts the controversy surrounding his death. She searches the record, correcting a wrong, a code of honor betrayed by a jackal, a slander that brought death in another form. Her quest is like that of her Lockhart ancestor who rode to the crusades with the heart of King Robert the Bruce. In the years after WW2, Largie castle, roofless through neglect, was reduced to a rubble of stones & with it the authorís own sense of self & family. Gaining full understanding, she ends with an inspired disquisition on the British Empire, that nicely defines its evolving and layered character.
Short story writer, poet, playwright and literary critic, Mary Gladstone taught for many years at the University of Edinburgh. She also found time to write and broadcast on Scottish literature and the arts for the National press and BBC radio. She recently returned to Galloway where she grew up, to live by the sea in Scotlandís most southerly village where, on a clear day, she can see the coastlines of England, Ireland and the Isle of Man.
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