The clan chief wants to remove the people living in the Highland glens and straths, replacing them with thousands of black-face Cheviot sheep and a few herders.
The people of the glens, who have lived there peacefully in their crofts and farms for hundreds of years, do not wish to go.
That was the essential conflict of the Highland Clearances, a dark and distressing time in Scottish history. But in Year of the Sheep, James Y. Bartlett’s sweeping retelling of the Clearances in Sutherland in Scotland’s far North, the conflict is even starker:
Both the clan chief and the people fighting back were women.
For Elizabeth Gordon, 19th chief of Clan Sutherland, replacing the people with the far more profitable sheepwalks only made economic sense.
But the women of Glencullen were desperate to save their way of life. Inspired by the village shaman and healer, the white witch known as Mute Meg; organized and encouraged by the schoolteacher Anna Kenton; and led by the ferocious example of the shape-shifting outlaw known as Billy Hanks, they decided to make a stand.
Based on actual events, Year of the Sheep is an epic novel that runs from the Battle of Culloden Moor through the chaotic events of the French Revolution in Paris; and from the gilded palaces of London to the rude huts of Glencullen, fated to disappear in the fires that helped extinguish a way of life that had lasted nearly a thousand years.