Born on the Isle of Mull to an impoverished lair of the clan Maclean, young Allan fought his first battle -- for Bonnie Prince Charlie at Culloden -- from a sense of deep conviction and family loyalty. He fled into exile when the Stuart cause was lost. In Holland he became a mercenary, and after amnesty was granted for Jacobites, he joined the British army serving in North America during the Seven Years' War, and again during hte American Revolution. He was at Quebec on New Year's Eve 1775 when the city was attacked by Benedict Arnold, and shortly thereafter become the military governor of Montreal.
Between the two wars, when the army was reduced and he was on half-pay, Maclean was preoccupied with finding ways to meet the expenses he incurred while on active service. He made himself useful to politicians and office-holders who had access to public funds or who could recommend him for promotions. One who helped him was Lauchlin Macleane, an ambitious politician who was probably the notorious Junius, who wrote vicious letters to newspapers attacking the government, but was never unmasked.
This fast-paced and intriguing book gives a penetrating insight into the challenges facing a man who chose a military career during the tumultuous period of the eighteenth century.