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Elderly narrator Harry Langton looks back on the adventures and friends of his youth, transporting the reader to the Scottish Borderlands at the end of the 16th century... The much younger Langton returns to his birthplace to aid an old friend, the brash Adam Fleming, who has fallen for legendary beauty Helen of Annandale. He has also, it seems, fallen foul of a rival for her hand, Robert Bell, a man as violent as he is influential. Fleming confesses to Langton that he fears for his life.In a land where minor lairds vie for power and blood feuds are settled by the sword, Fleming faces a battle to win Helen's hand. By virtue of being the lovers' confidant, Langton is thrust into the middle of this dangerous triangle, and discovers Helen is not so chaste as she is fair. But Langton has his own secrets to keep--and other powers to serve. Someone has noticed Langton's connections to the major players in the Border disputes, and has recruited him in their bid to control the hierarchy of the Border families--someone who would use the lovers as pawns in a game of war. Packed with swordplay, intricate politics, and star-crossed lovers whose actions could change the course of history, Fair Helen is a sumptuous, rousing adventure novel that brings to life one of English poetry's most intriguing heroines.
In 1925, John Buchan published his second most famous novel, "John MacNab"; three high-flying men -- a barrister, a cabinet minister and a banker -- are suffering from boredom. They concoct a plan to cure it. They inform three Scottish estates that they will poach from each two stags and a salmon in a given time. They sign collectively as 'John McNab' and await the responses. This novel is a light interlude within the "Leithen Stories" series - an evocative look at the hunting, shooting and fishing lifestyle in Highland Scotland.
The wager: to poach a salmon, grouse and a deer from three Royal Estates. The challengers: three men in a mid-life crisis who should know better. The wild card: a flirtatious female journalist who won't take no for an answer. Striding over the Scottish Highlands with a poet's eye on the wilderness and a firm grip on the adventure, Andrew Greig reimagines John Buchan's classic novel with a little less tweed, a little more sex, and just the right measure of whisky.
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