Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Gathering Storm by Maggie Craig


Edinburgh, Yuletide 1743, and Redcoat officer Robert Catto would rather be anywhere else on earth than Scotland. Seconded back from the wars in Europe to captain the city's Town Guard, he fears his covert mission to assess the strength of the Jacobite threat will force him to confront the past he tries so hard to forget.

Christian Rankeillor, her surgeon-apothecary father and his apprentice Jamie Buchan of Balnamoon are committed supporters of the Stuart Cause. They're hiding a Jacobite agent with a price on his head in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, a hanging offence.

Meeting as enemies, Robert and Kirsty are thrown together as allies by the mysterious death of a young prostitute and their desire to help fugitive brother and sister Geordie and Alice Smart. They're on the run from Cosmo Liddell, bored and brutal aristocrat and coal owner.

As they pick their way through a labyrinth of intrigue, Robert and Kirsty are increasingly drawn to each other. She knows their mutual attraction can go nowhere. He know his duty demands that he must betray her.

Bringing to life a time when Scotland stood at a crossroads in her history, Gathering Storm is the first in a suite of Jacobite novels by Scottish writer Maggie Craig, author of the ground-breaking and acclaimed Damn' Rebel Bitches: The Women of the '45.


Edinburgh in 1743 seethes with discontent between those who hate the Hanoverian regime and the equally devoted followers of the Stuart kings who haven’t given up trying to get the New Pretender back on the English throne.

Toasts to the Scottish king ‘across the water’ are anathema to Robert Chatto, a Redcoat officer enticed back to Scotland, from the European wars to join the Edinburgh Town Guard, with a mission to judge the Jacobite threat.

Patrick Rankeillor, surgeon-apothecary and a known Jacobite is Robert’s first target. He searches the infirmary and upsets the servants, including the apothecary’s daughter Christian, who gives as good as she gets to the arrogant Chatto. Christian has courage in abundance and despite Robert’s threats, she and her father, with his apprentice, James Buchan, hide a Jacobite agent with a price on his head.

Christian and Robert cannot avoid each other however, and their story develops into a romance with an unusual plot with dialogue atmospherically true to the period.

I am a little jaded with romances so I would have liked more of the mystery of the ‘45’ but saying that, the sexual tension was great right from Robert and Christian [Kirsty’s] first meeting. His delicate femininity and his rough Scots soldier were perfect foils for each other.

Maggie Craig's knowledge and research into the period is so authentic she might have been there, so I wasn’t surprised to see she has published some non-fiction titles on Scottish history which I intend to read. Edinburgh is wonderfully described with its dark, damp alleyways the perfect scene for betrayal, loyalty and love amongst the squalor of the poor and even murder.

A very enjoyable read, and I
wasn’t expecting the end which leaves the reader guessing either. 
Maggie Craig's Website:

Anita Davison is a Historical Fiction Author whose latest release, ‘Royalist Rebel’ a biographical novel set in 17th Century England released by Pen and Sword Books under the name Anita Seymour

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