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In Sir Walter Scott’s classic tale Old Mortality, Henry Morton of Milwood is compelled to take up arms against the Royalists.
Morton is one of the "people's heros" who challenges King Charles II and changes the course of Scottish history.
Morton finds himself torn between his love for a royalist's granddaughter and his loyalty to his oppressed countrymen.
Scott's portrayal of extremist religious leaders is balanced by his equally fierce portrayal of the leaders of the government's attempt to quell the uprisings.
Out of this emerges Scott's real triumphs of characterization: Cuddie Headrigg, Bessie Maclure, and Jenny Denison, minor characters whose very humanity and seeming irrelevance in the cosmic scheme that Scott sets up make their actions more impressive in the context of the novel.
Perhaps the finest and certainly the most readable of Scott's novels, Old Mortality is a swift-moving historical romance that pits a classical hero against the forces of fanaticism in seventeenth-century Scotland—the period known as "the killing time."
SIR WALTER SCOTT (1771 – 1832) was a Scottish historical novelist, playwright and poet remembered for his extensive literary works and his political engagement. Many of his works remain classics of both English-language literature and of Scottish literature. Famous titles include Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, Old Mortality, The Lady of the Lake, Waverley, The Heart of Midlothian and The Bride of Lammermoor.