Skip to content
John Sayles
John Book Fav (1)

John Sayles is a much-celebrated film director who has made 18 movies, beginning in 1980 when his debut Return of the Secaucus Seven was released. Among the other movies he is known for directing—and often writing as well—are Lianna, Brother from Another Planet, Matewan, Eight Men Out, City of Hope, Sunshine State, Passion Fish, and Lone Star, the last two of which earned him Academy Award nominations for Best Original Screenplay. He also has written the screenplays for numerous films by other directors, including the iconic Eighties horror movies The Howling and Alligator. Sayles also directed three of Bruce Springsteen’s most famed music videos for the songs Born in the USA, Glory Days and I’m on Fire.

As an author, Sayles has written numerous novels and short stories since 1975, when his first novel, Pride of the Bimbos, appeared. His second novel, Union Dues, was nominated for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Subsequent novels and story collections include At the Anarchist’s Convention, Los Gusanos, Dillinger in Hollywood, A Moment in the Sun, and, in 2020, Yellow Earth. John Sayles has been honored by, or spoken at, such respected organizations as the American Historical Association, the Modern Language Association, and the American Studies Association. His screenplay for the film Sonora, released in 2021, won the Ariel Award, Mexico’s equivalent to the Oscar, for Best Adapted Screenplay. John Sayles divides his time between Los Angeles and Connecticut.


About Jaime MacGillivray: The Renegade's Journey

A New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice

'It gets under the skin of this extraordinary time in a way that few historical novels do. Sayles writes superbly about the confusion of warfare and deals equally well with the horrors of the plantations...This is a first-rate historical novel told with wit, verve and a subtle understanding of the mechanics of the genre.' - The New York Times Book Review

"John Sayles is a living master." - Jennifer Haigh, author of Faith

It begins in the highlands of Scotland in 1746, at the Battle of Culloden, the last desperate stand of the Stuart ‘pretender’ to the throne of the Three Kingdoms, Bonnie Prince Charlie, and his rabidly loyal supporters. Vanquished with his comrades by the forces of the Hanoverian (and Protestant) British crown, the novel’s eponymous hero, Jamie MacGillivray, narrowly escapes a roadside execution only to be recaptured by the victors and shipped to Marshalsea Prison (central to Charles Dickens’s Hard Times) where he cheats the hangman a second time before being sentenced to transportation and indentured servitude in colonial America "for the term of his natural life."  His travels are paralleled by those of Jenny Ferguson, a poor, village girl swept up on false charges by the English and also sent in chains to the New World.

The novel follows Jamie and Jenny through servitude, revolt, escape, and romantic entanglements -- pawns in a deadly game.  The two continue to cross paths with each other and with some of the leading figures of the era- the devious Lord Lovat, future novelist Henry  Fielding, the artist William Hogarth, a young and ambitious George Washington, the doomed General James Wolfe, and the Lenape chief feared throughout the Ohio Valley as Shingas the Terrible.