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Rob Roy
By Sir Walter Scott

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Rob Roy

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Rob Roy
By David Baldacci
By Sir Walter Scott
Transaction Large Print Edition
Transaction Publishers: 1998
ISBN: 1-56000-519-X
Genre: Literature, Historical Fiction

Reviewed by Auggie Moore - October 1, 2007

First published in 1817, Rob Roy is the exciting and unforgettable story from the pen of Sir Walter Scott and it is part of his series of Waverley Novels, which were so called because Scott originally published them anonymously, signing them as merely, the Author of Waverley, which was the first book in the series. Rob Roy is set in the period surrounding the 1715 Jacobite uprising in support of James Edward, son the deposed Stuart king, James II. Scott's depiction of Scottish life during this period is gripping and provides an unforgettable social commentary on the disparities between life in Scottish Highlands, Lowlands, and England at the time, and the political strife that existed between the two quasi united countries.

Rob Roy is narrated by Francis 'Frank' Osbaldistone, an Englishman who has fallen afoul of his father when he refuses to take his place in the family business. As punishment, he is sent to live with his Jacobite uncle in the North of England, near the Scottish border. There he falls in love with a young woman destined for a convent, makes many enemies, has some high adventures, and becomes embroiled in Scottish political strife. When financial documents belonging to his father are stolen by Rashleigh, one of the sons of Osbaldistone's uncle, Osbaldistone sets out to retrieve the documents. The loss of the documents threatens his father's honour and credit, and Osbaldistone hopes that by retrieving them he will not only restore his father's honour, but also his own standing in his father's eyes. To that end, he meets with Rob Roy to assist his aid. Rob Roy takes up his cause, settles the entire affair, and ends up killing Rashleigh when he becomes an informer for the English after the uprising breaks out.

Although the book bares the nickname of Robert Roy MacGregor (a.k.a., Rob Roy as well as Red Robert), he takes a secondary role to that of Frank Osbaldistone. Nonetheless, Rob Roy's role in this tale is indispensable, and you come away from the book feeling that Rob Roy is the central figure, even though he does not even make an appearance until halfway through the book. Consequently, it is not surprising that Rob Roy played a huge role in making Robert Roy MacGregor a household name throughout the world.

For those that are not familiar with Rob Roy, he was a real-life Scottish hero who was known for his charity toward the poor and his viciousness toward his enemies. Rob Roy fought valiantly during the uprising, and for a time, after the uprising was put down, lived a rather tranquil life as a cattle baron who acquired his herd primarily by theft (which wasn't exactly illegal at the time, but that is another story). A quiet country life was not to be for Rob Roy, and he was soon branned as an outlaw, and he spent most of his life fighting against what he saw as the injustices done to his family, and himself. In many regards, MacGregor was the Scottish equivalent of Robin Hood, and like the legendary English hero, he has been heralded in song, legend, and literature.

Rob Roy is a brilliantly written, swashbuckling tale full of heroic deeds, intrigue, danger, love, and it provides an insightful glimpse into this pivotal period in Scottish history. The only real drawback to Rob Roy is that Scott uses a lot of Scottish dialect in the book, which can make the book hard to read at times, especially until you get a feel for what all the words mean. Otherwise, Scott's writing is vibrant and energetic, and the story so engrossing that you will find the book hard to put down. If you like tales of daring-do, swashbuckling, solid adventure tales, or historically based novels, you cannot go wrong with Rob Roy. Best of all, this large print edition from Transaction Publishers is complete and unabridged and features a dark 16-point font that makes this book accessible to most visually impaired readers as well as those readers that prefer reading books with a larger than normal print size!

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