by Virginia Crow
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An historical fantasy adventure set in post-Culloden Scotland.
After the destruction of the Jacobite forces at Culloden, Scotland is divided, vulnerable and leaderless. But, as the ageless Caledon awakes, so too does an ancient evil. The small Clan of Caledon face enemies at every turn, discovering that even those closest to them may seek to destroy them.
\”Go out and tell all those you meet, Caledon has risen. Caledon will be protected and defended. And to you who would cause her harm, be prepared. A new fight has come.\”
After the destruction of the Jacobite forces at Culloden, Scotland is divided, vulnerable and leaderless, with survivors from both sides seeking to make sense of the battles they have fought against their fellow Scots.
James Og flees Drumossie, seeking the protection of his uncle\’s house in Sutherland. It is here James learns that the Northern Highlands hold a secret power only he can wield: Caledon. When Ensign John Mackay begins hunting Og\’s family, James realises he must harness this power to defeat the enemies of Scotland.
But, as the ageless Caledon awakes, so too does an ancient evil. When it allies with Mackay, the small Clan of Caledon faces enemies at every turn, discovering that even those closest to them may seek to destroy them.
This is the first book in a series, which spans the years 1746-1752.
Somewhere, only a short distance from him, the sound of a waterfall could be heard, both heavy and gentle in a manner which made his head throb even more. It was the hard work and efforts of these falls which had carved out the ravine where he lay. The trees which had broken his fall on his way down, clung to the sheer sides and gave the April sky a peculiar criss-cross with their branches which, though budding, had not yet come into full leaf. He realised it was no longer raining. The ground around him was dry save for the spray from the waterfall which he noticed, with interest, was coming into view. He lifted his head up and, though it spun when he moved, he was surprised to find he was able to rise. At first, he felt his eyes were betraying him, and he screwed them closed before opening them once more, but the peculiar form of the waterfall was indeed beginning to take shape. Two hands with long watery fingers reached away from the rock and rolling from side to side on wide though fragile shoulders an ever-changing head appeared. It was queer, the manner in which this form looked so alive in its monochrome appearance, and James Og gave a slight cry as two large eye sockets appeared.
He would have liked to run, to have turned away and promised himself he had only imagined the whole apparition, but he could not take his eyes from it. It had no mouth, yet as it looked at him, he could hear its liquid voice, as though a peculiar form of telepathy existed between them.
\”Jamie Og,\” it began, its soothing voice neither male nor female in tone. \”Your coming here was far from misfortune.\”
I found this book immersive. The world felt real and like I could walk right into it. Given that this is historical fantasy, it’s at least partly based on Earth. Even so, the descriptions were lush and engaged multiple senses. I wanted to explore the forests and towns that I only got glimpses of.
The main cast of characters was interesting. They banded together with unsurpassed loyalty. It was a bit odd that the main group was five men and one woman, but I guess it spoke to the times. The mix of lore, magic, and adventure came together well. That said, while the world fascinated me, I felt a bit lost in the main conflict. There is a family feud at the core of the story, and unless I missed something, I wasn’t sure why.
My main issue with this story was Mary. I think she’s supposed to be unlikeable, and she certainly is. Even so, she came across as too unlikeable for me. She whined about how everyone abandoned her but never did anything to show she was someone worth standing beside. She just expected people to fall at her feet, but she was nasty to almost everyone. She despises the hero, but he helps her anyway. It’s very, well, heroic, but after how she treats him, I can’t understand why he’s nice to her, even if it’s the hero’s prerogative to be nice.
The story wrapped up everything while leaving plenty of room for a sequel. This one wasn’t quite for me, but those who are more into historical fantasy may find this to their liking.
Virginia grew up in Orkney, using the breath-taking scenery to fuel her imagination and the writing fire within her. Her favourite genres to write are fantasy and historical fiction, sometimes mixing the two together such as her soon-to-be-published book \”Caledon\”. She enjoys swashbuckling stories such as the Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas and is still waiting for a screen adaption that lives up to the book!
When she\’s not writing, Virginia is usually to be found teaching music, and obtained her MLitt in \”History of the Highlands and Islands\” last year. She believes wholeheartedly in the power of music, especially as a tool of inspiration. She also helps out with the John o\’ Groats Book Festival which is celebrating its 3rd year this April.
She now lives in the far-flung corner of Scotland, soaking in inspiration from the rugged cliffs and miles of sandy beaches.
She loves cheese, music and films, but hates mushrooms.
Find her online:
Virginia Crow will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway