Dorothy Dunnett’s creation Francis Crawford of Lymond, the central figure in The Lymond Choronices, has been crowned the favourite character from a Scottish book in a Scottish Booktrust poll.
The character won 458 votes in a poll that saw 3,150 people from 28 countries voting as part of Book Week Scotland.
In second place was Irvine Welsh’s character Francis Begbie, who won 339 votes. Begbie is a violent sociopath first seen in the novel Trainspotting, who was played by Robert Carlyle in the film adaptation. Begbie soared into second position late on Wednesday, following a vow from author Irvine Welsh on Twitter that "If you vote for Begbie and he wins, my next book (after 2015 Juice Terry one) will be a Begbie one."
Shortly behind was Ian Rankin’s Detective Inspector John Rebus, who attracted 338 votes. The top five slots were filled by Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes (300 votes) and Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s Chris Guthrie (282 votes).
Hermione Granger, the first of two J K Rowling characters to make the top ten, came in at number six with 286 votes, closely followed by Mairi Hedderwick’s Katie Morag (264 votes). Hedderwick said: "I'm delighted that Katie Morag is still a favourite book character. All of 33 years old, she is now treading the TV boards but her first home will always be on the page. Long Live Books!"
Muriel Spark’s creation Jean Brodie was the eight choice (257 votes) and rounding out the top ten were D C Thomson’s Oor Wullie and Rowling’s boy wizard Harry Potter, each gaining 223 votes apiece.
Marc Lambert, director of Scottish Book Trust, said: "It's great to be able to announce the top 10 favourite characters from a Scottish book – as voted for by the public – during Book Week Scotland, our national celebration of books and reading. Francis Crawford of Lymond may be an unknown name to many, but Dorothy Dunnett's enduring popularity, sustained over the years by her legions of devoted fans, is testament to the strength of writing talent that we enjoy in Scotland.”
He added: “Literature is one of the best ways of really inhabiting another person's thoughts, and is the reason why people have such strong feelings about their favourite character. It isn't always a traditionally 'nice' character who gets under people's skin either, as is proven by Begbie and Miss Jean Brodie's positions in the top ten."
Book lovers from around the globe got involved, with votes coming in from 28 different countries including Argentina, Singapore and Qatar.
The majority of the votes came from the United Kingdom, followed by: the United States; Canada; Germany; Australia; Ireland; South Africa; France; Spain; and Italy.
Voters also had the option to nominate another character if their favourite character was not on the shortlist, and the most popular wildcard vote went to Jocky Scott, a character from the cult comedy novel The Tartan Special One by Dundee-born Barry Phillips. His fans, who launched a campaign for Jocky to win the competition, boosted the character to 14th position in the poll.