I have always enjoyed E.V.Thompson’s books, and this one did not disappoint. The story starts in 1817 just as the Scottish Clearances were getting underway, whereby wealthy landlords, mostly absentee, were moving the crofters off their lands in order to run sheep on them. With little in the way of compensation, it caused considerable hardship. In this book we meet three very different families. Angus Ross, sub-tenant of Hugh McCrimmon, finds himself homeless with a wife and seven children to feed. He scavenges the remains of a sheep which has been attacked by an eagle, is caught, convicted of sheep stealing and transported to Australia with two of his sons. Hugh McCrimmon falls out with the local Laird, James Cameron, and sails with his family to America. James Cameron, himself heavily in debt, is persuaded to take up a position in Canada to avoid scandal for his family. The lives and careers of these three families are traced through the next 120 years to the end of WWII.
The subsequent history of the times in the three countries is fascinating. America, coming out of the War of Independence; Canada progressing from a collection of states to an independent country, albeit a dominion of the UK; and the wide spaces of Australia being settled by ex-convicts and immigrants alike. The characterisation is well done, as always with this author, and the situations, although fictitious, appear to be firmly founded on fact and entirely plausible. Highly recommended.