Sent away from home for the first time, Neil Pritchard spends the long summer of 1962 with his Aunt Nessie in claustrophobic Auchendrennan on the Solway Firth, a seascape of fast tides and sinking sands. Eager for a pastime to fill the long dull days, Neil sings for Euan Bone, a young Scottish composer whose star is rising fast. Becoming Bone’s muse, Neil spends afternoons at the composer’s home, hours that become the focus of his adolescent dreams. Inevitably, though, he finds himself expelled from the Eden, a betrayal which will have devastating consequences.
Asked thirty-five years later to write Bone’s biography, Neil is tempted to reveal the whereabouts of the composer’s lost last work, The Lantern Bearers, but this revelation would have to expose the truth of his own involvement in the violence of love’s blind vengeance.
The Lantern Bearers, winner of Scotland’s prestigious Saltire Award for Scottish Book of the Year 2000, is Ronald Frame’s twelfth book of fiction.