Lord Simon Lovat was the last of the great Scottish chiefs -- and the last nobleman to be executed for treason. Born to inherit vast lands in the Highlands, the family had fought their way from France onto the beaches of England with William the Conqueror. The glorious revolution of 1688 saw James II deposed from the British throne by his daughter and son-in-law, Mary and William. He fled to the continent with his wife and infant son. As the British throne passed to Anne and then to the Protestant Hanoverian Georges, the deposed Stuarts raised armies and plotted from the court of Louis XIV to retake their throne and restore toleration for Catholics. This is the world into which Simon Fraser is born. In a life packed with plotting and incident, Simon became the greatest double-agent of the age. He was both a loyal British army officer and government place-man, a spy for both the Stuarts and the Hanoverian Georges; a Protestant and Roman Catholic. He was both feudal, benevolent despot and University trained philosopher, reading Machiavelli in original Italian. He disputed theological niceties with the Papal Nuncio in France, while courting Louis XIV for money to fund an invasion of England. He was fluent in five languages. In July 1745, Bonnie Prince Charlie lands on Eriskay -- a tiny Hebridean island and launches his last and greatest attempt to seize back his throne, joined after victory at Preston Pans by Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat and his clans. They reach Derby before retreating ignominiously and facing final defeat at the hands of the British at Culloden.. This gripping adventure and spy story uses the events of Lovat's life to recreate this extraordinary period of history. As Sarah Fraser argues, the defeat at Culloden led directly to the end of traditional Gaelic civilization; to the brutal clearances and 'pacification' of the Highlands which followed and the lost civilisations of Scotland that were destroyed after 1745 by English repression.
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