An impressive debut from an exciting new Scottish voice – a stunning novel about history, identity and redemption.
It is Spring 1997 and Hugh Hardie needs a ghost for his Tours of Old Edinburgh. Andrew Carlin is the perfect candidate. So, with cape, stick and a plastic rat, Carlin is paid to pretend to be the spirit of Colonel Weir and to scare the tourists. But who is Colonel Weir, executed for witchcraft in 1670.
In his research, Carlin is drawn into the past, in particular to James Mitchel, the fanatic and co-congregationist of Weir’s, who was tried in 1676 for the attempted assassination of the Archbishop of St Andrews, James Sharp.
Through the story of two moments in history, ‘The Fanatic’ is an extraordinary history of Scotland. It is also the story of betrayals, witch hunts, Puritan exiles, stolen meetings, lost memories, smuggled journeys and talking mirrors which will confirm James Robertson as a distinctive and original Scottish writer.
Reviews of The Fanatic
- ‘Utterly compelling.’ The Times
- ‘A remarkable book.’ Observer
- ‘Robertson takes not just history but the notion of history; not just the question of what truth is but the act of questioning itself and breathes and extraordinary life into them…In this complex, superbly claustrophobic novel where everything is meticulously researched, and just as importantly, meticulously imagined, he urges us to see ourselves anew.’ Scotland on Sunday
- ‘A revelatory post card from clenched, pre-millennial Scotland, packed with incisive social comments and cracking set pieces. ‘The Fanatic’ is a rattling good read.’ Independent on Sunday