This first book in a promising series, takes place in 19th century Scotland in the Orkney islands at the time of the Clearances. It was a time when wealthy landowners were changing their mode of land management and ruthlessly throwing tenants off the land.
When Lord McDonald takes over the estate of Westland and its holdings, he's determined to make improvements and increase his income to match the holding of his prosperous brother. But the extreme changes he makes brings even more hardship to the tenants of his lands when they are already struggling to survive. These include increased rental fees and bringing in a new breed of sheep, and forcing the fishermen to alter their boats at their own expense. With only an eye for profit, the new lord doesn't care that the people who serve him aren't able to make the rent and many are going hungry. When he brings in some thugs to enforce his decrees, it is more than the people can bear. Those who stand up to him including Mac, the eldest son in the MacDonnells clan, face harsh consequences.
This saga follows the plight of the McDonnells and their loved ones. What a great story based on true facts, though the characters are fictional. It increased my awareness of great wrongs that have been done in the past and the people who weathered these storms. I give it five our of four stars.