4 April 2018.
Readers of this unusual and exciting novel should forget anything they ever knew about Scottish history from the seventeenth century on, and quite probably before then. The author has provided an alternative history. The Darien Venture, in which almost the entire population invested substantial funds, brought, not complete financial disaster as readers may previously have thought, but success. The first settlers in Panama prospered and the settlement expanded, becoming known as New Caledonia. Thus, the Act of Union 1707 never happened, and Scotland kept its independence, not to say its own royal family. Were there any Jacobite rebellions, or clearances in the Highlands? Alternative history is silent on this point, as it is on the previous history. Did the Stuarts ever come to rule, not just Scotland but England and Ireland as well? Did Charles I lose his head, or Mary Queen of Scots hers? Indeed, were there ever any Stuart kings?