This novel, which has always been regarded as one of Scott's
finest, opens with the Edinburgh riots of 1736. The people of the
city have been infuriated by the actions of John Porteous, Captain
of the Guard, and when they hear that his death has been reprieved
by the distant monarch they ignore the Queen and resolve to take
their own revenge. At the centre of the story is Edinburgh's
forbidding Tolbooth prison, known by all as the Heart of
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