Victorians 60° North
This is the amazing saga of five Edmonston brothers of Shetland and their families, from the late 18th when they were born, to the early 20th century, told through their personal correspondence and their many publications, including pamphlets, scientific and literary papers, histories, poetry and novels. Their stories are woven through the events of their time, beginning with the marriage of their parents and the inheritance of the Buness Estate on the most northerly inhabited island in the British Isles and ending with its near loss some 200 years later. It is a story of generosity and avarice, ambition and hubris, of success and failure, sobriety and intemperance, lairds and tenants, of love and tragedy. The main characters are supported by a large cast and a rich and varied backdrop that include the tenants of the Unst estate, the Truck System and the far haaf fishing; the principal worthies of Shetland; plant discoveries and the voyage of the Herald to Galapagos; an array of the great naturalists of the 19th century, including Charles Darwin and the Scottish ‘Audubon’, William MacGillivray; the forty-niners on their trek to California; the defenders of Charleston in the American Civil War; Lady Franklin, Joseph Bell, the model for Sherlock Holmes; a nephew of Napoleon and many others.