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Summary

The fourth book in the highly acclaimed Alexander Seaton series. 1635: Europe is in the grip of the brutal territorial and religious struggle of the Thirty Years' War. Fear stalks the town of Aberdeen as a ship recruiting for the wars lies at anchor in the river mouth. A sinister figure watches from the shadows as apprehension grows and culminates in the disappearance of the son of a Highland chief - a student of Alexander Seaton.

When the frozen body of a young woman is found in the garden of a prominent citizen, Alexander becomes more deeply embroiled. The figure in the shadows has come for him; he can hide from his past no longer.

Shona MacLean has a PhD in history from Aberdeen University, specialising in 16th and 17th-century Scottish history. She lives in Banff, Scotland, with her husband and four children.

©2013 S. G MacLean (P)2013 Audible Ltd

Critic reviews

"MacLean has the first-rate historical novelist's gift... [she] communicates her passion for the period without downplaying its brutishness." (Daily Telegraph)
"As always, the research is brilliant and evocative and the book intelligent, enthralling and beautifully written" (Crime Review)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent finale

MacLean has really hit her stride with this Alexander Seaton book, beautifully narrated. I stayed up all night to finish it, and didn't drop off once!
A very grim introduction to the Thirty Years' War, in which many Scots fought on both Protestant and Catholic sides.
Alexander, although preparing to leave the University to finally take up a position as a Minister, becomes involved when troops on a ship recruiting men for the Wars, start chatting up some of the students.
There is also the recurring theme of Protestant righteous bigotry and a bit of witchcraft -probably caused by all the repression! It is fascinating because MacLean doesn't have a protagonist who is exempt from such values. He has shown his attitudes to Catholics, and his avveptance of the Kirk's right to sit in judgement, in other books, but also his humanity in that he wouldn't damn Sarah for fornication when she was put in a situation where she could not resist her master. He marries her and accepts and loves her bastard as his eldest child.
In this book we again have a bit of historical detective fiction as he tries to find a missing Highlander, one of his students. Many of the strands from her other books are tied up in this one, to a very unexpected end.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A good story, but I didn't enjoy it overall

I was interested in the overall story, but, (and this is probably more about me than the book), It brought home to me the awful hypocrisy in Religions. It sadly makes me think of the current state of affairs which allows people to be cruel to those who are different to them in religion race or colour. This thought overtook my interest in the story.
May I say again, that this was a well written story, interesting and well read, but the historical content is too distressing for me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Difficult to switch off!

Would you consider the audio edition of The Devil's Recruit to be better than the print version?

Haven't read the print version but I love listening to the audio versions of Shona MacLean's books.

What did you like best about this story?

The story line was good and I love the way the characters develop through the book. I could have wished for a different ending but I could see that the author was opening the way for a new chapter in Alexander Seaton's life.

Have you listened to any of David Monteath’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Yes and I have thoroughly enjoyed every one; he is able to bring characters and period to life.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes but I didn't have time! Still went to bed too late though.

Any additional comments?

Highly recommended but listen to the books that go before first.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

We're All Doomed.

Well, most of us know this. But if you feel hope rising in your heart, read this series and you'll be set back on the path to misery.

Not a particular fan of humanity, is SG Mac. Maybe it's those grim, Siberian winds, up there in the harsh North East.

Her women suffer the most, they're very thinly written. Mostly they appear as tragic and wet. The only one resembling a woman of strength, comes across as an hysterical nag.

Oh well, glad I've had my tea.

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good story

I have enjoyed all the books in this series. I look forward to hearing more

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Redemption. Not.

It’s been an interesting walk with Seaton since book one. Message of this book? ‘Redemption be damned’. Miserable, repeated human failing, sentiment and temptation cross centuries. Nothing more. Spoilers.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Loved the series, loved the narration

The only way it could have been bettered is if it had b the n written in Scots. Gave a great feel for the time. Although I prefer earlier history, the series gripped from beginning to end.
Wholeheartedly recommended!!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

all comes together in this last book in the series

Any additional comments?

an exciting end to the series which kept me gripped all the way through.
well written and performed and enjoyable listen.

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  • Dee S
  • Bath, Somerset
  • 15-10-13

A great book

I enjoyed all the books in this series of books. It was well read and the right rate. The story followed on from the previos books