This article is from 2006.
Following up the universally acclaimed, Saltire and Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year-winning Joseph Knight was never going to be a trifling matter. But the Kent-born, Bridge of Allan-raised novelist James Robertson has surpassed all expectations with his latest historical opus The Testament of Gideon Mack. The gripping, vividly evocative novel takes as its starting point the discovery of a manuscript by the eponymous Mack, a son of the Manse, who writes of an austere upbringing at the hands of his joyless father.
Reaching adulthood, the atheist Mack has himself taken up a career in the church. His life and sanity begin to fall apart following an encounter with a mysterious standing stone and, returning from a three-day disappearance, Mack claims to have endured an encounter with the devil himself. Throughout the novel, Robertson taps into abiding Scots literary concerns about duality and the nature of good and evil, as well as some startling historical detail abut Scotland in the post-war years. (Allan Radcliffe)
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