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The Redemption of Alexander Seaton

Is the young man simply drunk or does his staggering walk suggest something more sinister? When he collapses in front of the two sisters on that dark, wet night, the women guess rightly that he's been poisoned.So begins this gripping tale set in the town of Banff, Scotland in the 1620s. The body of the victim, the apothecary's apprentice, is found in the house of Alexander Seaton - a fallen minister, the discovery of whose clandestine love affair has left him disgraced and deprived him of his vocation. Why was the body moved to Seaton's house? What is the significance of the unusual poison used to kill him? And why would anyone want to murder this likeable young man? Seaton sets out to find answers to these and many other questions, embarking on a journey where he encounters the witch hunt, extreme religious prejudice, cruelty and the darkness in men's souls. It is also a personal quest that leads Alexander to the rediscovery of his faith in God and his belief in himself. Among her many strengths, Shona MacLean is brilliant at evoking period and place. You feel you are in those cold, dark, northern rooms, eavesdropping on her characters. You are totally involved in the rich, convincing world she has re-created.
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About the Author

Shona MacLean is in her early 40s and has a PhD in history from Aberdeen University, specialising in 16th and 17th century Scottish history. She was encouraged to write by her late uncle, the author Alistair MacLean. She lives in Banff with her husband and four children. This is her first novel.


Such is the quality of the recreation, not only of the reeking ebb and flow of everyday life, but also of the period mindset that it's easy to believe that Satan is walking abroad. This is an accomplished and thought-provoking debut - Guardian. This could be the premise for a contemporary crime thriller - except that the novel is set in the 1620's and steeped in the history of that period - Scotland on Sunday.

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