David Sinclair is the author of eight previous books, including the recent Hall of Mirrors and the best-selling The Pound: A Biography. He has enjoyed a long career as a senior journalist with some of Britain's leading newspapers, and divides his time between London and Normandy.
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A Talk with David Sinclair, author of The Land That Never Was
How did you first hear about Sir Gregor MacGregor, and what made you decide to write a book about him?
When I first heard the outline of the MacGregor story, I found it so hard to believe that I felt it must be worth further investigation--and that if it did turn out to be absolutely true, it would definitely deserve a book. It came about at a New Year party, when I was living in Ireland. A friend of mine, Desmond FitzGerald, who holds the ancient Irish title of The Knight of Glin, told me that he had found among the family archives at Glin Castle, in County Limerick, material relating to the involvement of two of his ancestors with a certain General Sir Gregor MacGregor in a sensational 19th century fraud. MacGregor had invented an entire country in Central America. Not only had he sold land there to hundreds of people in Scotland, and persuaded them to emigrate, but he had also floated a £200,000 loan on the London capital market for the "government" of this fictitious country. How had he gotten away with it? Desmond did not know. What ...
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