In 1779, driven out of his home, Calum MacDonald sets sail from the Scottish Highlands with his extensive family. After a long, terrible journey he settles his family in 'the land of trees', and eventually they become a separate Nova Scotian clan- red-haired and black-eyed, with its own identity, its own history.It is the 1980s by the time our narrator, Alexander MacDonald, tells the story of his family, a thrilling and passionate story that intersects with history- with Culloden, where the clans died, and with the 1759 battle at Quebec that was won when General Wolfe sent in the fierce Highlanders because it was 'no great mischief if they fall'.
Alistair MacLeod was born in 1936 and raised in Cape Breton, Nove Scotia. MacLeod is the author of two short story collections, The Lost Salt Gift of Blood (1976) and As Birds Bring Forth the Sun and Other Stories (1986) and the novel, No Great Mischief, published in 1999. Written over the course of thirteen years, No Great Mischief won numerous Canadian literary awards and the 2001 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. All of his published short stories, plus one new piece, were collected in Island, published in 2000. Alistair MacLeod died in 2014.