Historical novel, partly set around Buchan’s home at Elsfield in Oxfordshire, and pertaining to a short period missing from James Boswell’s Life of Samuel Johnson, and set in 1745. Hero Alastair Maclean is aiming to join the Jacobite army as it advances south into England, and finds himself in a nest of spies, including Midwinter, the leader of the mysterious ‘Spoonbills’. Romance becomes caught up with treachery and betrayal, and Maclean arrives at Derby too late to help the Prince’s cause.

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