The Jacobite Trilogy by DK Broster

A romanticised view of the Jacobites: an engaging story

I first read this trilogy as a young teenager caught up in the seeming romance of the Jacobite rebellions of 1715 and 1745 and as a proud, albeit idealistic, descendant of highland Camerons.  I have read the trilogy twice since and while I am slightly less idealistic, I still enjoy this historically set fiction which involves many of the heroes of Clan Cameron (The Gentle Lochiel, and Dr Archie) as well as some wonderful fictional characters including the dashing Ewen Cameron. 

These novels were first published in the 1920s and this is evident in both language and style.  Despite this, they are still worth reading today.  Ms Broster created a world where much of the action is implied rather than explicitly described, and she does not linger overlong on the battles.  The strength of the novels, for me, is in the impacts on the lives of those caught up in the rebellions.  Viewed with the benefit of hindsight, the Battle of Culloden is an historical crossroad and in many ways it serves such a purpose in this novel. 

I’d recommend this trilogy (‘The Flight of the Heron’, ‘The Gleam in the North, and ‘The Dark Mile’) to anyone interested in Jacobite fiction set in the 18th century Scotland.  The romance of the highlands as depicted may largely be illusory but in fiction all things are possible.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith

2 thoughts on “The Jacobite Trilogy by DK Broster

  1. At the beginning of the lockdown I did a MOOC about Scottish clans which included aspects of the Jacobite rebellion too. It was quite illuminating, demolishing a lot of the romantic notions which abound among loyal Scots. But what was amusing was the way some of the other participants wouldn’t have a bar of it. What they knew about the clans was, in their opinion, much more authoritative than anything said by a bunch of academics who’d specialised in the subject!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. About 20 or so years ago, I learned a lot about the Highland Clearances from a man living in the area. It didn’t accord with what I thought I knew, but I believe him. My great grandfather left the Scottish Highlands during the 1870s or 1880s and brought with him ideas/opinions/folklore from his Gaelic speaking family. Not all accurate, as I’ve since learned 🙂


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