Estimated read time: 5 min read

One Sentence Summary

A young Scotsman seeks freedom from his oppressive life and finds himself entangled in the struggle for liberty in the American colonies.


"A Place Called Freedom" by Ken Follett is a captivating historical novel that takes readers on a thrilling journey through the 18th century, exploring the themes of freedom, love, and the pursuit of justice. Set in the coal mines of Scotland, the bustling streets of London, and the sprawling plantations of Virginia, the novel offers a rich tapestry of settings and characters that come to life in vivid detail. With its gripping storyline and compelling characters, "A Place Called Freedom" is a timeless tale of human resilience and the enduring quest for freedom.

Brief Synopsis

Plot Overview and Setting

The novel is set in the 1760s and follows the life of Mack McAsh, a young Scottish coal miner who dreams of freedom from the oppressive conditions of the mines. After a series of harrowing events, Mack finds himself at the mercy of the brutal Jamisson family, wealthy landowners in Scotland. As Mack's story unfolds, the narrative shifts to the bustling streets of London and the sprawling plantations of Virginia, where the characters' fates become intertwined in a web of love, betrayal, and redemption.

Main Characters

Mack McAshA determined and resilient Scottish coal miner who yearns for freedom and justice.
Lizzie HallimA spirited and compassionate young woman who becomes entangled in Mack's life.
Robert JamissonThe ruthless and privileged heir to the Jamisson estate, whose actions have far-reaching consequences.
Jay JamissonRobert's younger brother, torn between loyalty to his family and his own sense of justice.
Reverend PeasegoodA charismatic preacher who becomes a pivotal figure in the characters' lives.

Summary of Story Points Over Chapters

Chapter 1-5: The Coal Mines of Scotland

Mack McAsh toils in the oppressive coal mines of Scotland, where he dreams of escaping to a place called "freedom." His determination to seek justice for the mistreated miners leads to a series of confrontations with the Jamisson family, setting the stage for the unfolding drama.

Chapter 6-10: London Calling

The narrative shifts to the bustling streets of London, where Lizzie Hallim, a young woman with a compassionate heart, becomes embroiled in a web of intrigue and danger. Mack's quest for freedom takes on new dimensions as he navigates the treacherous urban landscape, encountering unexpected allies and adversaries.

Chapter 11-15: Virginia Bound

The story takes a dramatic turn as the characters find themselves on the sprawling plantations of Virginia, where the legacy of slavery and the pursuit of freedom collide. Mack's resolve is tested as he confronts the brutal realities of plantation life, and the intertwined fates of the characters reach a critical juncture.

Chapter 16-20: Love and Betrayal

As the characters' lives intertwine, love and betrayal come to the forefront, shaping their destinies in unexpected ways. The complex dynamics between Mack, Lizzie, and the Jamisson brothers come to a head, leading to a gripping climax that will change their lives forever.

Main Events

  1. Mack's confrontation with the Jamisson family in Scotland sets the stage for his quest for freedom.
  2. Lizzie's journey in London exposes her to danger and intrigue, testing her resilience and compassion.
  3. The characters' arrival in Virginia brings them face to face with the harsh realities of plantation life and the legacy of slavery.
  4. Love and betrayal shape the intertwined destinies of the characters, leading to a gripping climax with far-reaching consequences.

Themes and Insights


  1. Freedom and Justice: The novel delves into the timeless pursuit of freedom and justice, as the characters navigate the oppressive systems of their time.
  2. Love and Betrayal: The intertwining relationships and dynamics of love and betrayal drive the narrative, adding layers of complexity to the characters' journeys.
  3. Social Injustice: The exploration of the harsh realities of coal mining and plantation life sheds light on the social injustices prevalent in the 18th century.


The novel offers insights into the indomitable human spirit, the resilience of the human heart, and the enduring quest for freedom, love, and justice. Through its rich historical tapestry, it provides a window into the complexities of 18th-century society and the timeless struggles of the human experience.

Reader's Takeaway

Readers will be transported to a bygone era, where the pursuit of freedom and justice takes center stage amidst the sweeping landscapes of Scotland, London, and Virginia. The captivating characters, gripping plot, and rich historical detail will leave a lasting impression, offering a powerful reminder of the enduring human spirit in the face of adversity.


"A Place Called Freedom" is a masterful work of historical fiction that weaves together the compelling stories of its characters against the backdrop of 18th-century Scotland, London, and Virginia. With its exploration of timeless themes and its rich historical detail, the novel offers a captivating and thought-provoking reading experience that will resonate with readers long after the final page. Ken Follett's storytelling prowess shines through in this unforgettable tale of freedom, love, and the enduring human spirit.

A Place Called Freedom FAQ

  1. What is the genre of A Place Called Freedom?

    A Place Called Freedom is a historical fiction novel.

  2. Who is the author of A Place Called Freedom?

    The author of A Place Called Freedom is Ken Follett.

  3. When was A Place Called Freedom first published?

    A Place Called Freedom was first published in 1995.

  4. What is the setting of A Place Called Freedom?

    The novel is set in Scotland and America in the 18th century.

  5. What is the plot of A Place Called Freedom?

    The novel follows the story of a young coal miner in Scotland who seeks freedom and a better life in America.