This is an unusual book. It's a take on the life of the last person to be hanged for blasphemy. All the dialogue is written, as it were, in a strong Scottish accent, whereas the actual text is written in normal (and very good) English. The author has decided to omit quote marks round speech, a recent fad that I see as ultimately pointless.
   I enjoyed certain aspects of the book. There's some black humour, vivid descriptions of what it was like to live in Edinburgh in those days, well-drawn characters. But ultimately I was disappointed because the central theme really only took up a dozen or so pages at the end. It was well done but somehow insufficient.
   Having said all that, I can see this being the sort of book that will be nominated for things in the year to come. So I won't try to dissuade anyone from reading it; just be warned that you need to have an ear for Scottish dialect!
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