'Here is a plot without a drop of blood; and all the elements of a romance, without its conclusion', comments the King towards the end of Scott's longest, and arguably most intriguing, novel. Set against the backdrop of the Popish Plot to overturn Charles II, Peveril of the Peak explores the on-going tensions between Cavalier and Puritan loyalties during the fraught years of Restoration England. Ranging from Derbyshire to the Isle of Man and culminating in London it is a novel which interweaves political intrigue, personal responsibilities and the ways in which the forces of history are played out in the struggles of individual human lives. But its true subject is perhaps the role of narration and the limits of storytelling itself. In this, the first scholarly edition of Peveril, Alison Lumsden recovers a lost novel.
Alison Lumsden is a senior lecturer in the School of Language & Literature at the University of Aberdeen and co-director of the Walter Scott Research Centre. She was for many years research fellow and then General Editor for the Edinburgh Edition of the Waverley Novels and has published on several Scottish authors including Robert Louis Stevenson, Nan Shepherd and Louis Grassic Gibbon. She is about to begin work on a scholarly edition of Scott's poetry.