I have written many academic books and school texts, some 40 in all, with a variety of publishing houses. Springer Nature, Routledge, Peter Lang and Cengage are the main international houses. David Barlow Publishing is the main Australian publisher. Son of a Jacobite is my first novel. The different kind of writing needed for it has been a learning process. My academic writing has helped but I've also been challenged to 'show not tell', instead of telling, which is what academic writing is all about. The venture has taken me to the other side, as it were, the other side of the fascinating thing we call writing.
History comes to life.
Growing up in Scotland I have heard, read or saw a lot on Culloden and our Jacobite history so was very curious to see what this book could add to that. T.J Lovat had aptly named it Son of a Jacobite as this book is pretty much the life of that one character. A boy, Thomas, born the day of Culloden while his father fought and died for the Jacobite cause. This gives it the underlying current only of Thomas losing his father, moving away and ultimately being lost on what to do with his life.
The book though is more about the relationships and thoughts Thomas has especially in his teenage years and twenties. I love that even though he grows up mainly in England he has a love still of his country and heritage. With that being said as he grows he is confused about this and his anger around losing his father. He travels around the world and you can see him struggle to find his own identity along with working out how the world works. He even joins the British Army later in the book as well which could be surprising giving his history the decision seems to work well as you read the book and get to know Thomas. Through it all you see him grow in his own beliefs. Not necessarily This religious beliefs but in what is right and wrong.
T.J Lovat does a great job at showing different sides to Islam, religion as a whole and the differences in how people react when with people of different faiths than their own. The descriptions of all the places and people are also well done but the main focus is always on Thomas and his interactions with them.
I do feel that there are few bits in the book where I thought the story was starting to drag. However l also think a lot of the background information was useful in what was happening in those times and gave more meaning to what Thomas was both going through then but also with his thoughts and beliefs as the story went along.
It was great to read something different and there seems to be a hint near the end that there might be more to come from T.J Lovat, even If this is a standalone book, I can't wait to see what else he comes up with.
The novel resembles a Shakespearean tragedy in part, but the ending is full of joy. Fluency and plot direction are remarkable. I found at many points that I could not put the text down. I enjoyed it greatly.
by Robert Crotty, Emeritus Professor of Religion and Education
I am a retired Professor from Australia. My academic work was mainly in Religion and Education, with a passion for history. I have also become something of a specialist in Islam.
My family roots are in the Scottish Highlands on which I have done much research. This is what inspired my first novel, Son of a Jacobite. When the historical record ran out, I turned to historical fiction. The Jacobite's son grows up in the shadow of his heroic father, travels in his youth to Persia, then Ireland and the Americas during the War of Independence. Much adventure, romance and growing up along the way, all inserted into snippets of live history.