The Supernal Sisters: A New Historical Novel by Ross Macfarlane QC

The Scotsman has published the first chapter of a new historical novel by Ross Macfarlane QC, titled The Supernal Sisters. The novel features Edward Kane, a young Scottish advocate who is drawn into a mysterious case involving two sisters who claim to have supernatural powers.

The First Chapter: ‘Jesus Was Just Like a Ghost’

The first chapter introduces the reader to Edward Kane, who is attending a lecture by Professor James Young Simpson, a pioneer of anaesthesia and obstetrics. Kane is fascinated by Simpson’s experiments with chloroform and ether, and his discoveries of ancient artefacts and fossils. Kane also meets Simpson’s assistant, Dr John Brown, who is the narrator of the novel.

The chapter then shifts to a scene where Kane is summoned by his friend and mentor, Lord Cockburn, to take on a case that involves two sisters, Mary and Margaret Campbell, who are accused of fraud and witchcraft. The sisters claim to be able to communicate with the dead, heal the sick, and perform other miracles. They have attracted a large following of believers, as well as the attention of the authorities and the press.

Kane is reluctant to take the case, as he is sceptical of the sisters’ claims and fears for his reputation. However, Lord Cockburn persuades him to meet the sisters and hear their story. Kane agrees, and sets off to visit the sisters at their home in Leith.

The Supernal Sisters

The chapter ends with a cliffhanger, as Kane arrives at the sisters’ house and is greeted by a shocking sight: a man who looks like Jesus Christ, standing in the doorway.

The Author: Ross Macfarlane QC

Ross Macfarlane QC is a senior advocate and Queen’s Counsel in Scotland. He has a keen interest in history, literature, and science, and has written several historical novels featuring Edward Kane, a fictional character based on his own ancestor, who was also an advocate.

Macfarlane’s previous novels include The Letters of Comfort, The Matter of Honour, and A Promise is a Promise, which were all serialised in The Scotsman. His novels combine historical facts with fictional elements, and explore themes such as justice, morality, and the supernatural.

Macfarlane has also written articles and essays on various topics, such as the history of Parliament House, the life and work of Sir Walter Scott, and the legal aspects of the Scottish independence referendum.

The Novel: The Supernal Sisters

The Supernal Sisters is Macfarlane’s fourth novel featuring Edward Kane, and is set in Edinburgh in 1853. The novel is inspired by the real-life case of the Fox sisters, who were famous mediums in America in the 19th century. The novel explores the phenomenon of spiritualism, which was popular at the time, and the reactions of the public, the press, the church, and the law to the claims of the sisters.

The novel also features historical figures, such as Professor James Young Simpson, Lord Cockburn, and David Livingstone, who interact with the fictional characters. The novel blends historical accuracy with imaginative storytelling, and creates a vivid picture of Victorian Edinburgh and its society.

The novel will be serialised in The Scotsman from 29 November to 24 December 2023, with a new chapter published every weekday. The readers can follow the adventures of Edward Kane and the supernal sisters, and enjoy a thrilling and entertaining story.

By Ishan Crawford

Prior to the position, Ishan was senior vice president, strategy & development for Cumbernauld-media Company since April 2013. He joined the Company in 2004 and has served in several corporate developments, business development and strategic planning roles for three chief executives. During that time, he helped transform the Company from a traditional U.S. media conglomerate into a global digital subscription service, unified by the journalism and brand of Cumbernauld-media.

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