The Devil’s Recruit

Written by S.G. MacLean
Review by E.M. Powell

This is the fourth novel with Alexander Seaton as its hero, but it was my first introduction to him. The novel is set in Aberdeen in 1635 against the backdrop of the brutal and bitter Thirty Years War in Europe. A ship recruiting for the wars is at anchor in the river mouth, its presence casting fear over the city. When a student of Seaton’s disappears and a young woman’s frozen body is found hanging in the garden of a prominent citizen, Seaton is pulled into a chain of deadly events.

MacLean’s portrayal of 17th-century Scotland is masterful, and she brings the bitter religious tensions vividly to life. Seaton is a sympathetic hero, with credible conflicts and challenges. Characters from Seaton’s past resurface and play a major part in the novel. For readers of the series, I believe they appeared in Book One, The Redemption of Alexander Seaton.

There is tragedy for Seaton in The Devil’s Recruit, which I will not of course reveal. For readers who are already Seaton fans, I’m sure this book will be a welcome addition. For a novice like me, I shall be seeking out the other books in the series.