by Mary C. Gladstone
“A Scottish Downton Abbey” - Maureen Hodge
Non-fiction: history, biography
After escaping from Singapore, 75 years ago in the middle of WW2, Angus Macdonald, the future Laird of Lee Castle drowned, when his transport was torpedoed by the Japanese. All the British witnesses but one also died, some cannibalized by the other few survivors. Reports of Angus’s death caused a generation of family silence. Now, Mary C. Gladstone, his niece, has revisited his life, from his birth at Largie Castle, the family home on ancestral land, to his death in the Pacific, and finds that he died twice, once in fact, and again in the press, slandered by a jackal.
Born in a castle, sharing rooms with the pagan Broonie & the Archbishop, and, though a second son, destined to inherit an ancient Scottish name & a large property, influenced by his Crabbe and Lockhart ancestors, trained to be an effective agent of Empire through his classical, sporting education, which included Oxford University, where he rowed, flew and became a student of history, Angus Macdonald looked forward to a bright future. He joined the Argylls and embarked on a military career that put him on the front line in Malaya, in WW2, as Chief of Staff to various Commanders, where he lived in tents, out-ran tanks in his baby Fiat, and escaped, only to die at sea in uncertain circumstances. Sixty years later, his niece Mary Gladstone has recreated his life to find out why her uncle’s death so deeply affected her family. With scant evidence due to Angus’s restraint & love of solitude, Mary succeeds in this tour de force, of giving her uncle a living place in the British narrative. Indeed, by recreating her uncle’s life, Mary Gladstone confronts the controversy surrounding his death. Her quest though is like that of her Lockhart ancestor who rode to the crusades with the heart of King Robert the Bruce. In the years after WW2, Largie castle, roofless through neglect, was reduced to a rubble of stones & with it the author’s own sense of self & family. Gaining full understanding, she ends with an inspired disquisition on the British Empire, that nicely defines its evolving and layered character.
**March 2 2017, the relese date, is the 75th anniversary of Angus Macdonld’s death.
The book also introduces Firefallmedia and its many publications, past and present, to the U.K. A division is being established near Southerness, Scotland.
Pre-order at Blackwells, Waterstones and firefallmedia.com
Advance Publication Notice
contact: Kathryn Delappe
Inquiries are invited.
Largie Castle - a rifled nest
(The British Narrative Revisited)
by Mary Gladstone
The Highland Sea Series 1
342 pages: £27 hard - £14.25 paper
hard cover: 978-1-939434-30-2
Release: March 2, 2017**