Scotch Rising (Markinch #1) by S. J. Garland


Captain Clyde-Dalton is a broken man. Mourning the loss of his wife and unborn child, his only wish is to receive a dishonorable discharge from the British Military and disappear into the world.

Instead, he is ordered to Scotland as a spy -under the guise of excise tax collector on Scotch whisky; his duty, to keep a finger on the pulse of the people of Markinch and remain alert to any hints of unrest or talk of defection from the British throne.

Upon arriving, Dalton learns of the unfortunate demise of his predecessor, an apparent suicide, though the evidence does not quite add up. What’s more, the man has left behind a journal encrypted in a strange code that Dalton is determined to crack. But with each new discovery comes added danger, and time is running out for him to solve this mystery as Dalton’s life, and the lives of the people of Markinch, hang in the balance.

Scotch Rising examines this volatile point in history, where tensions are high between those loyal to the British rule, and those who seek a Stuart back on the throne. Rich in Scottish culture and history, author S. J. Garland draws the reader back in time in this fast-paced novel, offering a fascinating look into highland life in the 1700s, including the unique traditions of the region, as well as the whisky-making process of the time. With a colorful cast of characters (and a healthy dose of Scottish brogue), the author lays the ground for a challenging mystery, while also tackling controversial issues of the period, such as the place of women in science. I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of historical fiction, as well as Scottish history. 

Rating: 3.5 stars 

I received a free copy of this book from Smith Publicity in exchange for an honest review.

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About the author:

Author S J Garland holds degrees in History and English from Simon Fraser University and earned a Masters degree from City University, London. She has extensively studied the English Tudor and Stuart periods. She is a Gender Researcher for the Center for Excellence on Gender in the Himalayas. A native of Vancouver, Canada, Garland lives in Geneva, Switzerland with her husband. Garland enjoys reading and writing about her travels throughout Europe.

“I am a huge fan of historical fiction and love nothing more than to cozy up to a favorite author and read the whole book until it is finished. Unfortunately adult life makes this almost impossible and I must settle for getting in a few chapters where and when I can. Any spare time I can muster is spent with my husband skiing, hiking, jogging or watching rugby. I currently live in Switzerland and enjoy traveling around Europe to the places where reading has already let me travel in my imagination. I always look forward to the next place, which will bring me inspiration.”

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