From a shocking start, the story shows us Scottish society on all levels through a fast paced adventure story which considers ‘entitlement’ and the impact of poverty while entertaining. The ‘Kid’ is a great character and his story is gripping and well told.
He has still the gift of story-telling, the same strong lights and shades; still the old turns of pathos and humour, still the keen knowledge of his countrymen, especially of the humbler sort. He supplies wealth of incident and multiplicity of characters. But the criminal element, in spite of the spark of humanity even in such as Mad Meg and the Knifer, will repel many readers.
Contemporaries found this story at times shocking, and certainly uncompromising in its description of urban and rural poverty, but it also offers us the chance to contemplate the nature of ‘title’ in society through an adventure which takes frequent unexpected turns and captivates the reader from start to finish.
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