'Rebel Orkney' pulls together some of the stories of those who dared to stand apart: saintly figures like St. Magnus; the villainy of Black Patie; or the tenanted farmers who stood up to landlordism. The use and abuse of power by Lairds, Earls, Princes and Kings over islanders, many of whom would lose their lives or have to leave Orkney as a result, is balanced against acts of resistance.
The book charts the courage of the Rousay crofters and the Stenness folk defending the iconic standing stones against the action of the local landowners. The activists of the 20th century who tirelessly campaigned for women's suffrage or to prevent the mining of Uranium illustrate a dugged determination which took on the establishment of the day.
The growing influence and eventual possession of the islands by Scotland, the Act of Union with England, the growth of Empire and the devastating effect of a war which engulfed the world, reflect the consequences of political decisions taken far from the islands on its people.