Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Spider and the Stone- A Novel of Scotland's Black Douglas ~ Glen Craney

I needed to read up on Electric Scotland  so that I understood the Culdees, the Stone of Scone and other aspects of this important era and this book gave me a leg up on that. Everything I needed to know about the Black Douglas and did not know who to ask, and then some I learned or looked up while reading. What was  Scotland like in Jamie Douglas's childhood ? How about Isabel McDuff  and what was that story all about? Most importantly was the divisions between the Scottish clans at this time and what it meant to this era.

It was a marvelous book and I was moved to tears at the long and sad ending. Glen Craney did a very fine job of encapsulating the life of James Douglas in one volume.The vignettes of Isabella of France at the beginning and end set a very apt and  distinct historical tone.

Very moving also to me was the utter devotion of William Wallace, Robert Bruce and James Douglas to the Scottish homeland. Yes I saw Braveheart and knew about many things the Hammer of the Scots did at Berwick and other places.These interrelationships were different and far reaching  as I discovered as continued to read.

I learned so much from this book about Medieval Scotland which was why I close to read it and I would read it again for the marvelous prose.The relationships described  are unique to this novel but possible and even plausible since much about this time is undocumented. 

We do not know exactly either, how Isabel MacDuff exactly came into this story. Isabel, hearing that Robert Bruce, her cousin was being crowned King at Scone, after slaying John Comyn, her cousin by marriage at Greyfriars, got on a horse and rode to perform her family function as crowner of kings of Scotland. Isabel, the Countess of Buchan chooses patriotism for Scotland over sure disaster as a result.

I will not share it all with you, you must now get the book yourself and read about this time in history. I am so very happy that I received such an excellent book for a review from such an accomplished author.

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