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Rob Roy

A book by Walter Scott

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Definitely not Scott's best!

  • Oct 1, 1998
For those seeking the famous tale on which the recent film wasbased, this will sorely disappoint. This is Scott's tale of a young Englishman, son of a prosperous middle class businessman, who is sent to live w/distant cousins in the north of England (just below the Scottish border) because of his failure to live up to his father's mercantile expectations of him. Here he becomes involved with all manner of intrigue and gets pulled into a vortex of events involving rebellion against the English crown, a scheming cousin, a beautiful girl and that famous Scottish outlaw and freedom fighter, Rob Roy. But the outlaw, certainly the most interesting character in the tale, is only a side player, so to speak, and makes a number of appearances, often in disguises (a favorite Scott motif), only to guide and/or rescue our blundering hero. This is most definitely not a tale of high adventure and derring do, and the complex and twisted intrigues of the plot do not sustain the book adequately. For those who like period pieces or the works of the masters (and Scott was certainly one), this book might be okay. But this is one of those rare instances where the movie, based apparently on Scott's preface to his book (in which he sketches out the life and times of the historical Rob Roy), is better. And frankly the movie wasn't half bad; far superior, in fact, to that other film of historical Scotland of the same vintage with Mel Gibson. Oddly enough, the Rob Roy film did worse at the box office. Who can account for some people's taste?

author of The King of Vinland's Saga

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About the reviewer
Stuart W. Mirsky ()
Ranked #230
I'm a retired bureaucrat (having served, most recently, as an Assistant Commissioner in amunicipal agency in a major Northeastern American city). In 2002 I took an early retirement to pursue a lifelong … more
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About this book


This novel, first published in 1817, achieved a huge success and helped establish the historical novel as a literary form. In rich prose and vivid description,Rob Royfollows the adventures of a businessman's son, Frank Osbaldistone, who is sent to Scotland and finds himself drawn to the powerful, enigmatic figure of Rob Roy MacGregor, the romantic outlaw who fights for justice and dignity for the Scots. This is an incomparable portrait of the haunted Highlands and Scotland's glorious past.
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ISBN-10: 0451526236
ISBN-13: 978-0451526236
Author: Walter Scott
Publisher: Signet Classics

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