Winner of The Word Award for Historical Fiction 2015
John Mackilligen is a Covenanter, an illegal Scottish Presbyterian minister in a time when anti-Anglican sentiment is considered treason. Can he hold to his promise even if it means he could lose everything he has—including his freedom and his life?
Over a century later, his kinsman, William McKillican, pastors a Congregational flock. But when his people are displaced to make room for sheep, he must decide whether to follow them to the backwoods of Canada with all its hardships, or leave them alone in the wilderness.
Inspired by the example of her grandfather, Jennie McKillican, a spinster nurse, embarks on the greatest adventure yet—a mission to China. Yet in the midst of spiritual revival, a threat arises that could endanger the lives of every Christian in the country.
Three true stories. Three different centuries. Three generations woven together in a living chain…calling to each other Across the Deep.
“He would have been proud of you, Janet,” Pa said, turning to her at last, running his long fingers over his bushy white beard.
“Grandfather?” she clarified, though she knew of whom he spoke.
He nodded. “He knew what it was to sacrifice, to give himself for the cause of Christ.”
“I wish I had known him,” she said wistfully.
“Aye, he was a great man,” Pa said, and Jennie wondered if he could see his father in memory, striding through the door after a long ride, seated at the head of the table, propped up in his bed at the last. Jennie could see her own past—the cheerful voices of children at play. This house was strong with memories. Even the logs in the walls breathed coolness, as though they remembered still the shade of their vanished forest home. “A great man,” Pa repeated softly. “But you don’t have to have known him in life to know who he was.”
It was true. She had been raised on tales of the Reverend William, as Grandfather was known throughout the county, passed down on the knees of her father, aunts, and uncles. He was legend, and yet real to her.
“He understood what it meant to be called.”
Jennie shivered, feeling that familiar and yet eminently Other presence of the Holy Spirit within her.
“I know that too,” she said. “That is why I must go to China.”
“And that is why I know he would be proud,” Father said, laying his broad, calloused hand on her shoulder.