The Jacobites’ Apprentice

Written by David Ebsworth
Review by Michaela Unterbarnscheidt

It can be difficult making an editor’s choice of a book that is published by my own UK Independent Publisher – but the review below is unbiased and independent. Jacobites’ Apprentice (and yes, the apostrophe is in the right place) is an exceptional novel. This is the quality of writing and production that the HNS Indie review team is trying to encourage. Indie writers and books can be every bit as good as those traditionally published: This is the proof of it.

Helen Hollick


Manchester, the centre of political intrigue of a country on the edge of yet another civil war? Indeed: In 1744, on the eve of the Second Jacobite Rising, the rivalling camps pledge money and support to their cause. Staunch Jacobites, defenders of the English throne and fickle businessmen have no qualms about the means to their ends. Seeing his adopted sister married off to a royalist merchant in a ruthless commercial manoeuvre, however, makes one man determine his own fate. Torn between filial loyalty and ardent enthusiasm, Aran Owen faces his own battle in the midst of betrayal and revenge, ambition and love.

Historical fiction in present tense—sceptics will doubt it can work, yet Hilary Mantel has shown how it is done, and David Ebsworth manages to pull it off gracefully. His crisp style magnifies the vigour of the narrative’s pace, and we are left with an innovative, whirlwind, and well-researched account of the complexities of the  Stuart years.

No less exquisite than the quality of the writing, the production of this book is stunning. From the magnificently rendered cover of great detail and velvety texture, to the professional editing and the flawless typesetting, this indie publication is worthy of a place on every historical fiction bookshelf.

** Finalist for the 2014 HNS Indie Award **