Monday, August 8, 2011

FOREWORD: I Was Asked to Write One and This Slipped Out

The foreward for my soon to be published book Opportunities; Jamie Leith in Darien from IFWG Publishing:
This is a story that should have been told centuries ago.It should have been trumpeted from the battlements of Edinburgh Castle, and proudly broadcast to the world. But it was not. Perhaps due to the nature of its end, the Scottish Darien story has languished at the periphery of history, covered in a nation's disgrace, and wrapped in the blankets of shame, purposely hidden.

The Darien Scheme was a world-changing event that few people today even know existed. The Scots raised half the actual capital in Scotland for the scheme, confident that they would dominate world trade. It was as large a leap of faith as to set a colony on Mars today.

I am not spoiling the ending when I tell you that the Darien venture did not turn out as the Scots had envisaged. The loss of such an amount of Scots revenue forced the 'union of the crowns', and Scotland was swallowed by its neighbor, England. Directly because of the Darien Scheme, Great Britain was born. A country that would assert itself across the globe until it had grown into the biggest Empire in the world.

The Darien Scheme actually happened, and most of the events portrayed in my book are researched historical fact. Ship names and their sailings, captains and council members, events, battles, and major storyline are as accurate as I could manage.

Opportunities, however, is a work of fiction, and although I have told the Darien story as close to history as I could, it should be read as a work of fiction.

Essentially, my book is a compromise; the events and characters portrayed herein are either researched or imaginary and I will leave it to you to work out which.

I would rather, of course, have you caught up in my story, and forget everything else.

The book is seen through Jamie's eyes, and I hope as you read, you will find in him, the spirit of my nation; the guile, the grit and determination, the pride and the strength of character that I feel in myself today.

I am Scottish and proud of it.

Ian Hall
Update: Opportunities is now available on Amazon~ Click here to purchase or preview  
Cover art for Opportunities: Jamie Leith in Darien by R. L. Carter


  1. Thank you, Ian
    For sending your blog link.
    Well, I am Scots-Irish and also English, as my maiden name is Howell as in 'good King Howell' of the 11th century Wales.
    I will be buying and reading your books when they are published. The story line sounds very intriguing. Anything to stir up that Scottish blood in me. I feel like I missed another life by not being born in Scotland. I went to Google World and took a virtual tour of Scotland the other day, even found the area where J.K. Rowling has one of her homes...
    Merchiston in Edinburgh, Scotland (I typed in those three titles and goggle zoomed straight to the house!) and did a zoom of a few amazing acres of land and homes in that area. I would love to live there!
    Well, here's to good fortune in all that you do,
    Teresa in California

  2. Hi,
    This is an interesting start to the book. I couldn't help noticing that in the amazon preview of the paperback edition your Foreword was incorrectly spelt as "Forward". Is this an error of the publisher/editor? This is a great shame, because I think it will put off some potential purchasers of the book (let's face it, there is a level of professionalism that readers expect from a published work). I am interested because I am also a writer who has faced similar problems of "editors" making such glaring mistakes (in some cases inserting errors into an otherwise grammatically and lexically correct manuscript). It seems to be one of the drawbacks of the age of internet publishing. Your tale seems to be the sort that is seldom written nowadays, and I wish you the best with it.

  3. To: Ian Hall
    Your book was excellent! I bought and had it autographed by you at the K.C. Renaissance Festival! You told me to tell you what I thought about it and here it is. I really had to think to find something to improve upon. Throughout the book the worst think that happens to Jaime is at the beginning when Hannah nurses him back to health. The main character, Jaime,watches other peoples' misfortune, but doesn't really have anything bad happen to him. If he to had gotten yellow fever, and barely survived and eventually got back to full health, it would be even better. But that's just an example. Just so you know, that's one of the best books I've ever read, it definitely ranks in my top 10! I can't wait to read more!
    May you never get writers block,
    P. Norris


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