'It gets under the skin of this extraordinary time in a way that few historical novels do. Sayles writes superbly about the confusion of warfare and deals equally well with the horrors of the plantations...This is a first-rate historical novel told with wit, verve and a subtle understanding of the mechanics of the genre.' - The New York Times Book Review
"John Sayles is a living master." - Jennifer Haigh, author of Faith
Spanning 13 years, two continents, several wars, and many smoke-filled and bloody battlefields, John Sayles’s thrilling historical and cinematic epic invites comparison with Diana Gabaldon, George R. R. Martin, Phillippa Gregory, and Charles Dickens.
It begins in the highlands of Scotland in 1746, at the Battle of Culloden, the last desperate stand of the Stuart ‘pretender’ to the throne of the Three Kingdoms, Bonnie Prince Charlie, and his rabidly loyal supporters. Vanquished with his comrades by the forces of the Hanoverian (and Protestant) British crown, the novel’s eponymous hero, Jamie MacGillivray, narrowly escapes a roadside execution only to be recaptured by the victors and shipped to Marshalsea Prison (central to Charles Dickens’s Hard Times) where he cheats the hangman a second time before being sentenced to transportation and indentured servitude in colonial America "for the term of his natural life." His travels are paralleled by those of Jenny Ferguson, a poor, village girl swept up on false charges by the English and also sent in chains to the New World.
The novel follows Jamie and Jenny through servitude, revolt, escape, and romantic entanglements -- pawns in a deadly game. The two continue to cross paths with each other and with some of the leading figures of the era- the devious Lord Lovat, future novelist Henry Fielding, the artist William Hogarth, a young and ambitious George Washington, the doomed General James Wolfe, and the Lenape chief feared throughout the Ohio Valley as Shingas the Terrible.
A DELUXE EDITION with a brilliant design.
700 PAGES of a thrilling, historical, and cinematic epic!
About the Author
John Sayles is an American independent film director, screenwriter, actor, and novelist. He has twice been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, for Passion Fish (1992) and Lone Star (1996). He has written seven novels, the most recent being Yellow Earth (2020) and A Moment in the Sun (2011).
“Jamie MacGillivray is remarkable in that it manages to be both sweeping and intimate, to deliver to the reader the tides of political history but also a moving and internalized portrait of two young people swept along on these tides...Jamie MacGillivray is Sayles’s sixth novel — his first was published in 1975 — and by some distance his best. It gets under the skin of this extraordinary time in a way that few historical novels do. Sayles writes superbly about the confusion of warfare and deals equally well with the horrors of the plantations...This is a first-rate historical novel told with wit, verve and a subtle understanding of the mechanics of the genre." --Alex Preston, The New York Times Book Review
"An immersive reading experience that swirls with complex personalities, illuminating the many sides of what would come to be called the French and Indian War." --Alida Becker, The New York Times Book Review
"Film director and novelist Sayles (Yellow Earth) follows in this strong outing the parallel stories of a Scottish rebel and a young Scottish woman pressed into servitude and sent to the Caribbean... he has a knack for bringing his many characters to life, and he makes palpable the raw violence of war and the uncompromising inequality of the period. It’s a worthy epic." -- Publishers Weekly
"Acclaimed screenwriter, director, and novelist Sayles blends his wide ranging narrative skills to great effect in this sprawling historical epic...Sayles’ grand vision yields a rollicking yarn that will satisfy the discerning historical adventure reader." -- Booklist
"Sayles’ chief interest is in how time, place, war, and imperialism at once do violence on bodies and identities... Jamie, denied a sense of home on two continents, exemplifies the discontent that sparked the American Revolution, and Sayles underscores the Native Americans’ disenfranchisement as well... Sayles makes clear the kind of bigotry and greed they’re fighting against." --Kirkus
"Reflecting reality is a strength of this book... After living with Jamie for over seven hundred pages, I was sad to part with him." -- Historical Novel Society
"A brilliant, bracing saga." -- The Dayton Daily News
"Jamie MacGillivray is Dickensian in scope and a masterpiece that only the indomitable John Sayles could have produced." -- Bookreporter