‘indispensable … an illuminating appraisal’ – Alex Massie, Spectator ‘A fascinating portrait of one of the most powerful politicians in the United Kingdom’ – Euan McColm, Scotland on Sunday ‘David Torrance’s skilled analysis provides insight into the rise of Nicola Sturgeon to the top of Scottish politics’ – Claire Stewart, STV How did a working-class girl from Ayrshire become one of Scotland’s and the UK’s most prominent politicians? Identified as a rising star by the SNP leadership shortly after she joined the party aged only sixteen, when the Nationalists formed their first (minority) Scottish Government in 2007, Nicola Sturgeon swiftly became one of its most successful ministers. Originally perceived as a tough, street-fighting politician lacking Alex Salmond’s broad populist appeal, over the years Sturgeon softened her image and began to outstrip her mentor in terms of voter approval. By the time Salmond resigned as First Minister and SNP leader in the wake of the No vote in the Scottish independence referendum, she was viewed as his natural successor. In this book, David Torrance traces the life and career of a remarkable woman who, in the months before the 2015 general election, could well hold the balance of power, not just of Scotland, but of the whole United Kingdom, in her hands.