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The Inheritance (Secrets of the Shetlands) Paperback – April 5, 2016
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From the Inside Flap
David Tulloch drove the remaining mile out of the village to the house he affectionately referred to as his "wee cottage," to distinguish it from the Cottage of the laird which had stood vacant in the three months since Macgregor Tulloch's death.
He had not expected the legalities and protocols to take quite this long. He had continued to pay his uncle's hired help out of his own pocket until the estate was settled. Keeping the Cottage and Auld Hoose functioning somewhat normally, however, was a different matter than a factory of three dozen employees with families to feed.
This news from Murdoc was a serious blow. Obviously the drying up of funds to meet the payroll must be due to some delay in resolving his uncle's estate. Like the rest of the island, the Mill property was owned by the laird. But why income from sale of the Mill's woolen products had stopped flowing was of serious concern.
He had always assumed that the regular monthly stipend he received had been provided for him in his parents' wills. However, his stipend had ceased in August too, exactly as Murdoc said was the case with deposits to the Mill's account. He had been so busy he had put off investigating it. For the immediate present he had had enough income from other sources for the matter not to have been pressing.
It now looked like he should have been more proactive about finding out what was going on. Especially if the two situations were related. A disruption in both his and the Mill's bank accounts at exactly the same time could hardly be a coincidence.... --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From the Back Cover
The death of clan patriarch Macgregor Tulloch has thrown the tiny Shetland Islands community of Whales Reef into turmoil. Everyone assumed Tulloch's heir to be his much-loved grandnephew David. But when no will is discovered, David's calculating cousin Hardy submits his own claim to the inheritance, an estate that controls most of the island's land. And Hardy knows a North Sea oil investor who will pay dearly for that control.
While the competing claims are investigated, the courts have frozen the estate's assets, leaving many of the locals in dire financial straits. The future of the island--and its traditional way of life--hangs in the balance.
Meanwhile, Loni Ford enjoys a rising career in a large investment firm in Washington, D.C. Yet, in spite of outward success, she is privately plagued by questions of identity. Orphaned as a young child, she was raised by her grandparents, and while she loves them dearly, she feels completely detached from her roots. That is, until a mysterious letter arrives from a Scottish solicitor. . . .
Past and present collide in master storyteller Michael Phillips' dramatic new saga of loss and discovery, of grasping and grace.
"The first in Phillips' new Secrets of the Shetlands series is a comprehensive saga told in alternate viewpoints, in various geographical locations, weaving the past with the present...as soon as the plot is revealed and secrets start to come out, there's a sense of nervous excitement for where it will lead. Phillips does what he does best: creates visually stunning stories with rich history, intriguing backdrops and an ending that will have readers craving a sequel."--RT Book Reviews
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Top customer reviews
In this first book of this series the plot develops gradually until an unexpected turn occurs..One of the main characters is devoted to those islanders that are under his care; this leader puts the needs of others before himself. II will be ordering the next in this series today.
He’s published 23 works of non-fiction. He’s edited 27 works of the Scottish writer George MacDonald, whose books had such an impact on C.S. Lewis. He’s edited five works of Harold Bell Wright and Ralph Connor. (Wright was the first American to sell more than one million copies of a novel, and the first American writer to earn more than $1 million. I’ve read only one of his works, “The Shepherd of the Hills.” Connor was a Canadian novelist.) Phillips has also co-authored 13 novels with his wife Judith Pella, and written more than 40 original novels.
My introduction to his writing happened some three decades ago, when the edited versions of George MacDonald’s books began to be published. While the books were widely popular in 19th century Britain, they contained large chunks of Scottish dialect and detailed descriptions that wouldn’t work as well with modern readers. I read quite a few of the novels, chiefly on the knowledge that C.S. Lewis loved them.
I also knew that Phllips was especially fond of writing trilogies, except they’re less trilogies and more three-part novels. One of his novels called “The Inheritance” popped up in an ad. Having been surprised once years ago, when an author published book one of a supposed trilogy that turned out to be a three-volume novel without explanation or disclaimer, I checked. And, yes, “The Inheritance” was the first installment of a three-part novel.
It’s a story about a fictitious island in The Shetlands called Whale’s Reef. For centuries the island has been largely owned and managed by the laird of the Tulloch clan. The current laird, Macgregor Tulloch, dies without a will, although most on the island believe his chief and a great-nephew, David Tulloch, would become the new laird. But complications with the estate arise, and another great-nephew, fisherman Hardy Tulloch, makes a claim. David is generally loved by the people of Whale’s Reef and Hardy is rightfully seen as something of a bully.
But it turns out that there’s someone with a stronger direct claim, a young American named Loni Ford. She works at an investment firm in Washington, D.C., and is enjoying early success. Raised by her Quaker grandparents, she knows little about her own parents or the families they came from. As it turns out, her mother is the direct descendant of “the old laird,” Macgregor’s father.
And complicating all of this is the designs of a rather stereotyped, flamboyant Texan who’s determined to gain control of Whale’s Reef to build an oil refinery. That will likely mean the end of the island’s fishing and wool industries which employ almost all of its people.
Phillips has a gift for telling a good story. I started reading skeptically – I was suspicious that a three-part novel could hold my attention. Well, the skeptic was wrong. I’m hooked. The second in the “Secret of the Shetlands” series is “The Cottage” and the third is “The Legacy,” just published July 4.
“The Inheritance” is the start of what promises to be a great family saga.
I'm not from Texas, but was offended by an '80's JR Ewing caricature showing up in a 21st century novel. The TX oilman talking about "ropin' the little filly" was just plain silly. His stereotype was overdone.
The faith elements are minor, with hints of quiet, godly strength in a small few of the characters.