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In this novel set on the fictitious island of Norday in the Orkneys, George Mackay Brown beckons us into the imaginary world of the young Thorfinn Ragnarson, the son of a crofter. In his day-dreams he relives the history of this island people, travelling back in time to join Viking adventurers at the court of the Byzantine Emperor in Constantinople, then accompanying a Falstaffian knight to the battle of Bannockburn.
Thorfinn wakes to the twentieth century and a community whose way of life, steeped in legend and tradition, has remained unchanged for centuries. But as the boy grows up - and falls in love with a vivacious and mysterious stranger - the transforming effect of modern civilization brings momentous and irreversible changes to the island. During the Second World War Thorfinn finds himself in a German prisoner-of-war camp, and it is here that he discovers his gifts as a writer.
Long afterwards he returns, now a successful novelist, to a deserted and battle-scarred island. Searching for the peace and freedom of mind he had in abundance as a child, he finds instead something he didn't even know he was looking for.
George Mackay Brown intertwines myth and reality to create a novel of deceptive simplicity. The story of Thorfinn and the island of Norday is a universal and profound one, rooted in the timeless landscape of the Orkneys, the inspiration of all his writing.
The small Orcadian community of Greevoe has remained unchanged for generations. Now a shady government project, Operation Black Star, threatens to destroy the islander's way of life.
George Mackay Brown's first novel describes a week in the life of the islanders as the come to terms with the repercussions of Operation Black Star in a masterful mix of prose and poetry from one of Scotland's greatest writers.
In his fourth novel, George Mackay Brown takes us to an Orkney torn between its Viking past and its Christian future.
Set in the early 11th Century, it tells the story of Ranald Sigmundson, who turns his back on a successful life of political intrigues and battles to design a ship to take him on a journey even greater than the first great voyage of his life, the one to Vinland.
Made available again for the first time in over 40 years, this new edition sits alongside Nan Shepherd’s The Living Mountain as an important precursor of environmental writing by the likes of Kathleen Jamie, Robert Macfarlane, Malachy Tallack and, most recently, Amy Liptrot.
This collection celebrates winter and its festivals, light and darkness. It includes the tales of Lieutenant William Bligh at the port of Hamnavoe, an Edinburgh man rediscovering his roots in Shetland, Baltic-men shipwrecked on the Orkney coast, and Norse warriors setting out for the Holy Land.
Through these stories George Mackay Brown explores the effects of new ways of thinking and working on the ancient patterns and traditions of Orkney life.