The Dark Mile by D.K. Broster was first published in 1929 and it’s the third part of a trilogy. The Flight of the Heron and The Gleam in the North should be read before this one.
The setting of The Dark Mile is nine years after the battle of Culloden. The inhabitants of the Highlands of Scotland are still very much under the rule of the Redcoats. They aren’t allowed to own guns for fear they would be used against the British army which is very much in control with hundreds of soldiers based at Fort William.
The disaster of Culloden isn’t far away, especially for Ewen Cameron who is still mourning the execution of his friend and relative Doctor Archibald Cameron at Tyburn, for High Treason. Ewen knows that someone had betrayed Archibald, probably giving information of his whereabouts to the English authorities – in return for gold.
Ewen’s cousin Ian Cameron is now his father’s heir as the eldest son had died at Culloden. Ian’s father is keen for him to get married and is beginning to negotiate with another family for their daughter’s hand, but Ian has fallen in love already, unfortunately his choice is a Campbell. It seems doomed from the beginning as Ian’s father will have nothing to do with Campbells as they were on King George’s side during the Jacobite Rebellion.
This book has more romance in it than the other two, but there’s still adventure, danger and drama. It’s a good read.
A classic tale of mystery and high adventure in a Dorset smuggling village.
Well that’s what it says on the back of the book and I wouldn’t argue with the description. I enjoyed this book, but I must admit that I’m drawn to smuggling tales anyway. Probably because I like the thought of the poor down-trodden souls getting one over the tax-man at a time when they were being taxed even more than we are now.
John Trenchard is 15 years old at the beginning of the book and he is living with his aunt in the village of Moonfleet, which is just half-a -mile from the sea. Both his parents are dead and his aunt has obviously taken him in as an obligation which she would rather not have.
The village has always been full of spooky tales of the ghost of Blackbeard, who haunts the churchyard looking for his treasure – a huge and perfect flawless diamond, which of course is said to be cursed.
When John discovers a secret passageway leading under the church he thinks he will find the diamond there but ends up being embroiled with a smuggling gang.
First published in 1898, Moonfleet is a classic adventure tale, suitable for young and old.
Moonfleet was made into a film in 1955, starring Stewart Granger and that lovely wee Scottish child actor John Whitely.