ACCLAIMED author Robert Harris is returning to the Borders Book Festival this year to talk about his new work – Act of Oblivion.

The book has been shortlisted for this year’s Walter Scott Prize.

And should it win, Harris will join Hilary Mantel as the only authors to win the award twice after he took the gong with An Officer and a Spy in 2014.

Harris has a very rare gift – a combination of high intelligence, great writing and the ability to fashion page turning plots that keep readers up half the night.

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He is the supreme historical novelist, a prize-winner who tops the charts for months.

Act of Oblivion is a masterly novel, much of it set in early colonial New England.

In 1660, Colonel Edward Whalley and his son-in-law, Colonel William Goffe, cross the Atlantic.

They are on the run and wanted for the murder of Charles I.

Under the provisions of the Act of Oblivion, they have been found guilty in absentia of high treason.

In London, Richard Nayler, secretary of the regicide committee of the Privy Council, is tasked with tracking down the fugitives.

He’ll stop at nothing until the two men are brought to justice.

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A reward hangs over their heads for their capture – dead or alive.

Act of Oblivion is an epic journey across continents, and a chase like no other.

Harris said: “This is the first time I have set a book in the 17th century, but I was intrigued by the story which seemed to speak to me.

“I did the research during the second lockdown over Christmas 2021.

“The book is based on fact and was the biggest manhunt in British history. The only fictional character is Richard Nayler, the manhunter.

“There obviously was such a person but his identity is unknown.

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“I am very much looking forward to coming back to the Borders Book Festival in an area that’s steeped in literature. It’s a great festival and it has allowed me to visit Abbotsford and also Bowhill House where I stayed as a guest of the Duke of Buccleuch one year.

“And I am grateful to have been nominated for this year’s Walter Scott Prize.”

Robert Harris will be appearing at the Borders Book Festival, Melrose, on Friday, June 16, at 9pm (tickets £16, concessions £14) to talk about his new book, Act of Oblivion, which is also shortlisted for The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, with the winner announced live at the festival on Thursday, June 15, at 5.30pm (tickets £6).

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