The Scottish literary master’s final full-length realistic novel—his prodigal son tour de force.
MacDonald’s 1897 novel, Salted with Fire, is replete with dense Scottish dialect and spiritual themes. The repentance (through fire) of young minister James Blatherwick, who recognizes the sham of his pretended spirituality, is reminiscent of Thomas Wingfold’s spiritual journey. It also embodies in fictional form one of MacDonald’s signature themes from his first volume of Unspoken Sermons, “The Consuming Fire. ” Along with these themes, the return of one of MacDonald’s favorite character “types, ” the humble Scottish peasant bard, in the person of cobbler John MacLear, establishes Salted with Fire as a work of lasting importance in the MacDonald corpus. It arguably offers a fitting climax to MacDonald’s life message. This new edition by MacDonald biographer Michael Phillips streamlines the occasionally ponderous Victorian narrative style and updates the thick Doric dialect into readable English.