An Abridged History of the Construction of the Railway Line Between Garve, Ullapool and Lochinver and Other Pertinent Matters.
It is August 1893. Alexander Auchmuty Kininmonth, optimistic railway engineer, works on the construction of a railway line between Garve and Lochinver, expecting that the railway will both transform the economy of that lonely corner of Scotland and bring him riches and personal comfort. Over the course of time, however, he finds that his dreams are slowly and inexorably sacrificed to the aspirations of others, and to events into which he finds himself stumbling head-first. Eventually, the fiscal incompetence of the railway company drives Kininmonth to seek employment in the Scottish borders, where he becomes involved in a bizarre relationship with two survivors of a community abandoned on a sub-Antarctic island. Extraordinary events necessitate a rapid escape by all three to the remote island of Jura, before Kininmonth returns to the north-west, where work continues on the railway. He is caught up in a ‘revolution’ in Ullapool in 1897, where a ‘Citadel of the Elect’ has been founded by a millenarian preacher.