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The Atholl Expedition (Alpine Dawn Book 1)


  • Alex Roddie


  • Historical
  • Mountaineering
  • Scottish
Shortlisted for the Outdoor Book of the Year Award 2014

Introducing James Forbes in the quest for Scotland's last glacier.

SCOTLAND, 1847. Convalescence doesn't suit Professor Forbes. When one of his former students appears exhausted at his door, telling stories of bloodthirsty gamekeepers and a mythical glacier in the heart of the Cairngorm mountains, he can't resist the chance for another adventure. However, his journey coincides with a visit from Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and the Royal Consort has an ambition to shoot the oldest and most cunning hart of the Atholl estate.

Forbes is soon involved in the chase of his life - with perhaps one last chance to make his name before it is too late.

The wilderness of the Cairngorms is trodden by legendary stags, demons of local folklore, and a few brave souls all seeking very different things from the wild. This is a tale of life in the Scottish mountains before mountaineering began.


"... an exciting and well-written adventure story but it also goes deeper into that, both into the history of the period and the psychology of the characters. It's one of the best works of mountaineering fiction I've read."
-- TGO magazine official review

"A swashbuckling tale of outdoor adventure, bringing together some epic wild locations and great storytelling."
-- TRAIL magazine official review

"The tensions in the book are created through the classic themes of class, a desire to fulfil a quest and young men seeking to forge their own way in the world ... it's admirable how he uses the mountains to emphasise the fears and desires of his characters."
-- Review by Spectrum Books

"Vividly drawn ... a compelling and imaginative work."
-- Review by Footless Crow

"The book makes for an exhilarating read, pitting folktales and fairy stories against enlightenment science, whilst mixing in a bitter and emerging social conflict between the landowning elite, their loyal servants, and those wishing for freer access to the hills for both leisure and research."
-- Outdoor blogger Nick Bramhall

"A book for anyone who loves wild places and cracking good yarns ... I love the fictional/philosophical mix of Alex’s writing and he has a wonderful eye for the unseen."
-- Outdoor blogger Alistair Young

"His research into this period is thorough and faultless and his writing contains some beautiful descriptions of the landscape of the Cairngorms which reveal his own love of the mountains."
-- Outdoor blogger John Burns

"I have always admired the author’s approach to descriptive writing. It’s not easy to do without sounding florid but his descriptions of storms, or of the mountains themselves, are studies in the careful choice of words. I love this style and I very much enjoyed the adventure story aspect of this book."
-- Review by Ignite Books