Storm’s Edge

Peter Marshall


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HarperCollins Publishers
11 April 2024
ISBN: 9780008394394
560 pages

From the publisher

A New History of Life, Death and Magic in the Islands of Orkney

'A surprising page-turner, full of humour and startling details' THE TIMES

'If I read a better history this year, I will be lucky' TOM HOLLAND

'An astonishing tour de force’ SPECTATOR

From Peter Marshall, winner of the Wolfson Prize 2018, Storm’s Edge is a new history of the Orkney Islands that delves deep into island politics, folk beliefs and community memory on the geographical edge of Britain.

Peter Marshall was born in Orkney. His ancestors were farmers and farm labourers on the northern island of Sanday – where, in 1624, one of them was murdered by a witch. In an expansive and enthralling historical account, Marshall looks afresh at a small group of islands that has been treated as a mere footnote, remote and peripheral, and in doing so invites us to think differently about key events of British history.

With Orkney as our point of departure, Marshall traverses three dramatic centuries of religious, political and economic upheaval: a time when what we think of as modern Scotland, and then modern Britain, was being forged and tested.

Storm's Edge is a magisterial history, a fascinating cultural study and a mighty attestation to the importance of placing the periphery at the centre. Britain is a nation composed of many different islands, but too often we focus on just one. This book offers a radical alternative, encouraging us to reorient the map and travel with Peter Marshall through landscapes of forgotten history.