After cheating the hangman twice—once after the Battle of Culloden in Scotland and again at Marshalsea Prison—Jamie MacGillivray is sentenced to indentured servitude in colonial America where he teams up with a poor village girl similarly sentenced through serfdom, revolt, escape, and romantic entanglements.
A vast, epic and multidimensional tale, a larger and more various narrative than any film could hope to contain ... You get the sense that Sayles wants to do something else, to explore the possibilities of this different form and to celebrate precisely what he is able to achieve within the pages of a book that would be impossible on camera. Jamie MacGillivray is remarkable in that it manages to be both sweeping and intimate, to deliver to the reader the tides of political history but also a moving and internalized portrait of two young people swept along on these tides ... Jamie MacGillivray is Sayles’s sixth novel...and by some distance his best. It gets under the skin of this extraordinary time in a way that few historical novels do. Sayles writes superbly about the confusion of warfare and deals equally well with the horrors of the plantations.
Sayles blends his wide-ranging narrative skills to great effect in this sprawling historical epic ... Sayles’ grand vision yields a rollicking yarn that will satisfy the discerning historical adventure reader.