Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The prologue of my second book, Gang Warily. I have about 41 thousand words-halfway through

MAY 1746

After the Battle of Culloden the armies of King George, led by his son The Duke of Cumberland, swept through the Highlands, stamping out any perceived sign of rebellion. Captured Jacobites, the supporters of Prince Charles Stuart, were imprisoned in Inverness and on ships in Moray Firth and the Thames in London. They were held in inhumane conditions, without medical help, and died in hundreds, their bodies tossed in the Firth and the Thames. The Royalists recaptured Fort William and Fort Augustus, and used them to spread terror. Women and children watched as their homes and crops burned, and starved in the following months. The clan system that had existed for hundreds of years died.

The composer Handel wrote Hail the Conquering Hero and Judas Maccabeus to honor the Duke of Cumberland. A flower, Sweet William, was named after him. In Scotland, it’s called Stinking Willie. Men under Cumberland showed an unparalleled viciousness. One such man was Captain Caroline Frederic Scott, who had been in charge of the prison in Inverness before he became one of the men leading retribution along the Great Glen. He was determined to wipe out all remnants of rebellion.
 Captain Caroline Frederic Scott stared at the man held between two redcoats, a sword and a musket at his feet. Rannoch Moor, barren and windswept, dotted with lochans, stretched around them under gray skies. Patches of snow still clung to the Grampian Mountains surrounding the moor.

The young man spoke in Gaelic, then in English. “My name is Davey MacGregor. I am bringing in my arms as you hae ordered.”

Scott, tall and blond, his face round and cherubic as a child’s, his blue eyes cold as the bitter wind, said, “I think you were planning to ambush my men. You are a MacGregor, not to be trusted, known to have fought for the usurper Stuart. You fought against His Majesty’s army at Culloden.”

Davey MacGregor shook his head. “I am obeying your orders to bring in my weapons.”

“You filthy Papist. Do you dare to question an officer of the rightful King?” Scott turned away and mounted his horse, then told his men, “He is a traitor. There are no trees to hang in from. Treat him as he deserves. Do not waste ammunition on him. And bring his horse. It looks a good mount.”

Davey MacGregor, 19 years old, younger brother of Calum MacGregor, cousin of Niall MacGregor, was bludgeoned to death by the musket stocks of His Royal Majesty’s loyal soldiers.

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