|About the Book|
The recent UK general election of 2015, in which the pro-independence Scottish National Party won a large majority of Parliamentary seats in Scotland, reminded me of this largely forgotten political thriller, written in the 1960s by Douglas Hurd, who became a Conservative cabinet minister a couple of decades later. Set in what was, at the time, a few years into the future (i.e. the 1970s) the novel imagined a nationalist rebellion breaking out in Scotland. I must have read this 40 years ago at least, but it sticks in mind fairly well. Partly this might be because in the novel the first place seized by the rebels was, bizarrely, my own home town - the small West Highland town of Fort William. (I suppose rural based insurgencies were not uncommon across the world in those days). As I recall the plot contains a fair dollop of Cold War politics, which would undoubtedly date it, but I also remember it as a decent thriller incorporating Glasgow gangsters, communist plotters, renegade army officers and M.I.5 agents. The book was made into a BBC TV series, which caused a big political row at the time, and in the end the BBC had to promise never to show the series again!I saw Douglas Hurd being interviewed on TV the day after the 2015 election, and he was asked about this book. Hurd claims that former SNP Leader Alex Salmond described the novel to him as a cracking read or words to that effect. If you are thinking of reading it, I suppose now is quite a topical time!