Shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction 2014.
'One of the best historical novels of recent years, Greig dusts off the past and presents it with tremendous skill' - Literary Review
'A Triumph of suspense' - Guardian
Saltire Award-winning author Andrew Greig reimagines the Border Ballad Fair Helen of Kirkconnel Lea as a dark romance and stirring adventure. Often called the Scottish Romeo & Juliet, here it is re-presented as the source of an equally famed, more complex drama.
The Scottish Borderlands, 1590s
Harry Langton is called back to the country of his childhood to aide an old friend, Adam Fleming, who believes his life is in danger. He's fallen for Helen of Annandale and, in turn, fallen foul of her rival, Robert Bell: a man as violent as he is influential. In a land where minor lairds vie for power and blood feuds are settled by the sword, Fleming faces a battle to win Helen's hand. Entrusted as guard to the lovers' secret trysts, Langton is thrust into the middle of a dangerous triangle; and discovers Helen is not so chaste as she is fair. But Langton has his own secrets to keep - and other friends to serve. Someone has noticed his connections, and recruited him in their bid to control the hierarchy of the Border families; someone who would use lovers as pawns in a game of war.
Andrew Greig is a poet and novelist. He has published six volumes of poetry (Bloodaxe) and four novels, the most recent of which, That Summer, brought him to a wide readership. He was born in Bannockburn in Scotland and educated at the University of Edinburgh. He lives in Orkney and Sheffield (with his wife the writer Leslie Glaister). Among other things, he is known as the unofficial poet laureate of the mountaineering community and a love of the land characterises much of his work.