istorical novelists always risk accusations of pastiche, and never no more so than when they try to reproduce the language of the past. But James Wilson believes that only by voicing the past, by incarnating it within ourselves, can we begin to understand it.
Robert Louis Stevenson is the patron saint of psychological dualism. David and Alan in Kidnapped are stark opposites with polar sympathies, and polar ideologies. James Wilson has been enthralled by the novel since boyhood – Stevenson showing him how such opposing forces can exist in dramatic tension. By degrees, Stevenson’s example drew him into writing fiction.