THE REDEMPTION OF ALEXANDER SEATON is a historical crime novel about faith, betrayal and witchcraft. The novel is set in Banff in north-eastern Scotland in the 1620s, and opens with a murder by poison. The victim, who is the apothecary’s apprentice, is discovered dead in Alexander Seaton’s school house. Seaton is the local schoolmaster, whose ambitions to become a minister lie in tatters after his love affair with the laird’s daughter is discovered and he is cast out from the kirk in disgrace. One of his only remaining friends is accused of the apprentice’s murder and Alexander sets out to solve the crime and clear his friend’s name, finding a renewed purpose in life and recovering his faith along the way.
THE REDEMPTION OF ALEXANDER SEATON is the first in a planned series of novels about the fortunes of Alexander Seaton. Shona MacLean is working on the second novel, in which Seaton will go to Ulster, the land of his mother’s family, and become embroiled in political and religious rivalries and intrigue there.
"Pacy and literate… this is an accomplished and thought-provoking debut." - The Guardian
"An astonishingly accomplished first novel. Shona MacLean has wrought a fine, rich, beautiful thriller that never loses sight of the heights to which the human soul can soar, even while it explores the depths to which envy, jealousy, hatred and greed can take it. This is a delight on all levels, literate, engaging and moving." - Manda Scott
"Shona MacLean's debut novel is not a book, it is a time machine. To open the first page is to be transported... Straight away you are in the thick of the intrigue, the mystery, and the lives of the characters it revolves around... THE REDEMPTION OF ALEXANDER SEATON is a great read, a thrilling murder mystery that will have you captivated from start to finish." - Bookbag
"THE REDEMPTION OF ALEXANDER SEATON is richly laden with historical detail, but MacLean wears her scholarship lightly, and the perilous nature of existence in a weather-beaten, sanctimonious town is compellingly evoked… Flashes of humour ensure that the sympathy remains with Seaton, an entertaining narrator… This is an absorbing foray into Scottish history." - Times Literary Supplement
"MacLean ably brings to life her hometown of Banff as it must have been in 1600. For those that like their historical novels densely packed with fact, this will appeal." - Scotland on Sunday
"Shona MacLean is brilliant at evoking period and place. You feel you are in those cold, dark, northern rooms, eavesdropping on her characters. You are totally involved in the rich, convincing world she has re-created." - Waterstones reviewer
"This engrossing, atmospheric novel is not only a satisfying, skilfully constructed mystery with richly developed characters. It's also the vivid evocation of a particular time and place... She has used her gifts to the full to create a truly memorable and exciting read." - Historical Novels Review