"Dance to the Storm" by Maggie Craig begins in Edinburgh in the last days of 1743. Redcoat Robert Catto is Captain of the Town Guard of the city of Edinburgh and has been installed into office to provide cover so that he might collect evidence of a planned Jacobite uprising amongst members of some of the city’s most well to do families. But as we learn more about him, it is hard to see whose side Robert is actually on. This uncertainty is shared by the very people he has been charged with investigating, a most useful hand for him to hold, but one he must play wisely.
Drop into the mix an ill-advised love interest and Robert risks revealing too much of himself to his enemies. Christian Rankeillor is the lady in question and one who Catto should really be keeping at arms length if he is successfully to achieve his objective. Unfortunately, he lets his heart rule his head and jeopardises both his position and the outcome of his investigation.
Set against the backdrop of a city in the grip of winter, Edinburgh is the star of the show. The descriptions of the characters moving through the city streets brings the story to life, as the reader is transported back in time to a place that, though different in many ways, will still be familiar to those who know 21st Century Edinburgh well. The atmosphere Maggie Craig creates is totally realistic and enhances the telling of this tale. The characters fit well into their setting and we learn of Catto as a man who, whilst he can be controlled and calculated in pursuit of his aims, can also be at times impulsive and a risk taker. Christian is more difficult to fathom. Being committed to the cause, whilst at the same time having her head turned by the dashing Catto. The question is, where will she ultimately place her allegiance?
"Dance to the Storm" is a thoroughly enjoyable read and whilst being the second book of a series, is enjoyable in its own right. That said, this reader is excited to see what the author has planned for our pair’s next outing.