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, sporti... ng 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 unknown circumstances. Sixty years later, his niece Mary Gladstone sets out to retrace his life to find out why her uncle’s mysterious death had 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...By recreating her uncle’s life, Mary Gladstone confronts the controversy surrounding his death. She searches the record, correcting a wrong, a code of honor betrayed by a jackal, a slander that brought death in another form. Her quest 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.
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