Set against the backdrop of the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745, Waverley depicts the story of Edward Waverley, an idealistic daydreamer whose loyalty to his regiment is threatened when they are sent to the Scottish Highlands. When he finds himself drawn to the charismatic chieftain Fergus Mac-Ivor and his beautiful sister Flora, their ardent loyalty to Prince Charles Edward Stuart appeals to Waverley's romantic nature and he allies himself with their cause - a move that proves highly dangerous for the young officer. Scott's first novel was a huge success when it was published in 1814 and marked the start of his extraordinary literary success. With its vivid depiction of the wild Highland landscapes and patriotic clansmen, Waverley is a brilliant evocation of the old Scotland - a world Scott believed was swiftly disappearing in the face of a new, modern era.
Walter Scott was born in Edinburgh in 1771, educated there and called to the bar in 1792. Having developed an early interest in BOrder tales and ballads he spent much of his free time exploring the Border country, and in 1796 published his first work - a translation of Burger's 'Lenore' - anonymously. He began to publish wroks under his own name in 1802 while holiday well-respected offices such as Sheriff of Selkirkshire. Having refused the laureateship in 1813, and being eclipsed by Byron as a poet, Scott began to write novels - again anonymously to start with. He died in 1832. Andrew Hook is Bradley Professor of English literature at the University of Glasgow. He has also edited (with Judith Hook) Charlotte Bronte's Shirley for Penguin Classics.