First published in 1911 and set nearly contemporaneously, this much darker smuggling story than Crockett’s others illustrates the impact of Free Trading as the ‘Gentle’ trade turns into something more sinister. Characteristically fast paced it carries the reader breathless to the end.
‘Crockett’s ‘Smugglers’ or ‘Last Raiders of Solway,’ are a very superior race, very much greater than anything we can produce in South Britain. Mr Crockett carries us with him, and we do not stop to think. It is enough to know that the journey is one of which we are not in the last weary. As for Zipporah, we can believe anything of her. This is a brilliant bit of work.’
A darker story than his earlier Smuggling novels, in this novel the ‘Gentle’ trade has turned into a world of gun running and slave trading. A near contemporary story, at times the style is Kiplingesque, especially when abroad, but no one can rival Crockett’s descriptive powers when it comes to his Galloway homeland and he once more moves the reader with his evocative passages of the Galloway countryside, especially Isle Rathan, a place he revisits time and again in his novels. But nothing and no one in this story are what they seem at first and Crockett keeps us guessing through the journey with all the skill of the true writer of adventure romance.
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