The Atholl Expedition
Amazon.com The Atholl Expedition
My review -
Alex Roddie has created a tale consisting of a number of stories interwoven. Two of his characters are Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, taking their holidays on the Duke of Atholl’s estate. This was at the time when the famous rows between the two had died down but there was still some disagreement about certain things – like being home on your birthday! – to provide narrative tension. The Duke has threatened one of his ghillies with the loss of his job and his cottage if he can’t provide the Prince with a famous stag to bring home as a trophy. The ghillie’s son works with his father but yearns to break away. Forbes, a geologist, wants to follow up reports of a glacier in Scotland, but had to cross the Duke of Atholl’s land and the Duke is famously against trespassers. There’s all this and more here and it’s a very interesting read.
I have always admired the author’s approach to descriptive writing. It’s not easy to do without sounding florid but his descriptions of storms, or of the mountains themselves, are studies in the careful choice of words. I love this style and I very much enjoyed the adventure story aspect of this book.