Rob Roy is set in 1715, but it is less concerned with the Jacobite Rising than with the economic and political conditions which brought it about, and the remarkable entrepreneurial spirit of the new Hanoverian capitalists which resisted it.
It celebrates the freebooting daring of the hero's father in the City of London and the robust balancing of generosity and selfish calculation which is required in successful enterprise, and which motivates one of Scott's most lively creations, the Glasgow merchant Baillie Nicol Jarvie.
Rob Roy is nominally a retrospective autobiography written by Frank Osbaldistone and is suffused with a sense of loss both personal and cultural.
The personal is the loss of his wife Diana; the cultural is epitomised in Rob Roy who is the hunted victim of a society richer and more powerful than his own.
The text is based upon the first edition, corrected with readings from the manuscript, and is supported by comprehensive historical and explanatory annotation.