Book Review: Sir Walter Scott's Guy Mannering
I'm in need of a rebuke. All this time in my life, and I have never read a book by Sir Walter Scott. Well, recently I changed that, and read Guy Mannering. Clearly, I have been neglecting my studies, my heritage, and my opportunity to be edified by the prose of one of Scotland's greatest writers.
The story was pretty clear in and of itself, and the principles were quickly identified. Guy Mannering, while traveling in Scotland, chances to arrive at a Laird's house, one of the last of the great and ancient names in Scotland. The Laird just had a son, and Guy Mannering, being then schooled in the "science" of astrology, promptly worked out the son's fate. He wasn't happy about it, and as he left, he vowed to give it up. The son was then lost 5 years later, and taken away by smugglers from Holland. The story is about his return, connections to the family, and more importantly to now Colonel Guy Mannering, late of His Majesty's Royal Army in India.
The story was compelling, and only seemed slow because I wanted to see if my conjectures as to the relationships between characters were correct. It was written much like the old serial method, each chapter being a story in and of itself, though building upon each other.
Sir Walter Scott was instrumental in restoring the Tartan to the Highland clans, their rights and their culture. It was he, though his writing, that restored the valor, pride, and spirit of Scotland to her natives, and such stories as Guy Mannering are a testament to his work.
And as a side note, this book was the cause of a special breed of terrier being called Dainty Dinmonts, after one of the principle characters in the book. It also mentions one Duncan Robb in passing, of which I am very proud.