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'.
You will find scenes from this majestic novel burned into your mind forever
One of the great undiscovered writers of our time
The novel is close to being a masterpiece. The characters, the light and the weather, the story itself - its beautiful tone and shape, its harsh and melancholy music - stay with you for days afterwards. The novel is simply breathtaking in its emotional range
Exceptional... The book is pervaded by the humour and colour; intensely vivid, and very, very moving
Alistair MacLeod is a wonderfully talented writer