The year is 1637 and Scotland is a nation on the brink of collapse. The king is seeking to reform the church in defiance of the will of the people. In the midst of mounting tensions and civil unrest Jenny, a lowly farm girl, finds herself catapulted by one breathtaking act of defiance from vegetable stall-seller to national heroine.
In 17th century Edinburgh’s dank alleyways danger becomes her constant companion. She is forced to elude the bloody reprisals of the royalists she has spited whilst avoiding the destructive zealousness of the revolutionaries she has joined. Even worse, her past life refuses to relinquish her – a prearranged marriage to the young royalist, Thomas, will inevitably jeopardise her love for Jamie, the wily preacher boy who first drew her into the revolution’s intrigues.
Her place at the heart of Scotland’s tempest will endanger more than just herself. As war looms and the proud old nation tears itself apart, Jenny is faced with the starkest of choices – will she save her family, or abandon her principles?
First 150 words:
There should be thunder, Jamie Ness thought. There was rain. It beat down like Noah’s flood, pooling around the door and trying to soak its way in through the nest of thatch overhead. It was because God was angry, Jamie decided. Tonight He was losing one of His greatest servants. Surely mere deluge was not enough? Surely there would be thunder too?
“James,” rasped his father’s voice. The boy looked up, bitter thoughts dissolving. Even now one word from the old minister commanded him. Even now, bedridden, with lungs infected and body wasted, Jamie’s father dominated the room.
“Come,” Edward Ness managed through gritted teeth. Jamie hurried to the bedside. Across the room doctor Mortimer added more peat to the ailing hearth, ignoring them both.
“Well doctor?” Jamie demanded. “The verdict?”
Mortimer turned slowly from the fire, his expression lost in the thick, damp shadows of the croft.
“I’m sorry Jamie.”