We first encounter Magdalen as a fourteen-year-old, Eccentric, artistic and withdrawn, she befriends Francis Gowrie, sharing his love of art and a disdain for barbaric practices such as the burning of women considered to be witches. Daughter of the politically ambitious Lord Carnegie of Kinnaird, Magdalen consents to an arranged marriage with a young soldier, James Graham, Earl of Montrose, in order to please her father. Montrose's poetry inspires her but she soon learns that above all things he has military and political ambitions.So begins this captivating portrait of the little-known wife of the infamous Montrose. Jenkins casts his ironic and informed eye over a host of memorable characters - from the domestic to the aristocratic - in a Scotland divided by social, military and political factions. Jenkins's appreciation of Scottish character and history and his narrative skill combine to create an effortlessly readable and engrossing novel.
Author of a number of landmark novels including The Cone Gatherers, The Changeling, Happy for the Child, The Thistle and the Grail and Guests of War, Jenkins is rapidly attaining recognition as one of Scotland's greatest writers. The themes of good and evil, of innocence lost, of fraudulence, cruelty and redemption shine through his work. His novels, shot through with ambiguity, are rarely about what they seem. He published his first book, So Gaily Sings the Lark, at the age of thirty-eight, and by the time of his death in 2005, over thirty of his novels were in print.