It would be an exaggeration to say that absorption in the whiskey business is a prerequisite for the enjoyment of this book but a certain general curiosity about the product which gives so much pleasure and pain would help it along. It is 1874 on the west coast of Scotland near Loch Lomond and young Robert King has become engaged in a struggle to create and market a blended whiskey which would be an acceptable drink outside of the heath and the Highlands. In this venture he must contend with his father, Fergus, who is reluctant to extend his business beyond the alehouses which made his fortune and with the Pot Still Association which claims that Robert's product, King's Royal, misrepresents the true article. The King family has its internal difficulties too -- with Tom Hoey, a wastrel son-in-law; with Mary Devine, a Catholic whose involvement with Robert looms as a scandal to Fergus. But Robert, whose business is his pleasure is too canny to let anyone stand in the way of his enterprise. He succeeds -- but the same cannot be said for Quigley's knowledgeable but thoroughly unexciting novel.