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PUBLICATION DATE: June 22, 2023
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A Street Shaken by Light: The Story of William Neilson, Volume I
By (author) James Buchan
One of Britain’s outstanding historical writers delivers a romantic and picaresque masterpiece that tells the fascinating story of William Neilson. In 1720, the young William Neilson leaves Edinburgh to make his fortune in Europe, first sailing to Rotterdam and then on foot to Paris, where he meets and is immediately employed by the banker John Law. A day later he is in the Bastille, but not before he has encountered a young woman of surpassing beauty to whom Neilson will be devoted for the rest of his life. Imprisoned in the Bastille, he has no possibility of seeing or communicating with his beloved. When at last he recovers his freedom, he is despatched at once to sea, bound for the Indies. He will be shipwrecked, become an equerry on the Île-de-France, anon command a disorderly legion in Persia, become a linguist able to hold his own in diplomatic and mercantile circles, all the while anticipating a summons from the Stuart king in exile in Rome, until he is sent back to France, and thence to Scotland in the service of the Young Pretender. This is brilliant, irresistibly entertaining fiction. A whole world of adventure and romance comes alive in the hands of one of our most ingenious storytellers, one of our finest writers.
James Buchan was for many years a correspondent of the Financial Times in the Middle East, and later in central Europe and the US. He has written more than a dozen works of fiction and history, and his novels have won major literary awards, including the Whitbread First Novel Award and the Guardian Fiction Prize.