Tuesday, June 14, 2016

REVIEW of THE SPIDER AND THE STONE by GLEN CRANEY

THE SPIDER AND THE STONE
Glen Craney
Brigid's Fire Press
2013

SUMMARY (from publisher)
As the 14th century dawns, Scotland's survival hangs by a spider's thread. While the Scot clans scrap over their empty throne, the brutal Edward Longshanks of England invades the weakened northern kingdom, scheming to annex it to his realm.But one frail, dark-skinned lad stands in the Plantagenet monarch's path. The beleaguered Scots cherish and lionize James Douglas as their "Good Sir James." Yet in England, his slashing and elusive raids deep into Yorkshire and Northumbria wreak such havoc and terror that he is branded the Black Douglas with a reward placed on his head for his capture.As a boy, James falls in love with the ravishing Isabelle MacDuff, whose clan for centuries has inaugurated Scottish monarchs on the hallowed Stone of Destiny. His world is upturned when he befriends Robert Bruce, a bitter enemy of the MacDuffs. Forced to choose between love and clan loyalty, James and Isabelle make fateful decisions that will draw the opposing armies to the bloody field of Bannockburn.Isabelle will crown a king. James will carry a king's heart. At last, both now take their rightful places with Robert Bruce, Rob Roy, and William Wallace in the pantheon of Scot heroes.Here is the story of Scotland's War of Independence and the remarkable events that followed the execution of Wallace, whose legend was portrayed in the movie Braveheart. This thrilling epic leads us to the miraculous Stone of Destiny, to the famous Spider in the Cave, to the excommunicated Knights Templar, to the suppressed Culdee Church, and to the unprecedented Declaration of Arbroath, the stirring oath document that inspired the American Declaration of Independence four hundred years later.The Spider and the Stone is the unforgettable saga of the star-crossed love, religious intrigue, and heroic sacrifice that saved Scotland during its time of greatest peril.

REVIEW by Sara E. Dykes
Love. Loss. Loyalty. The Spider and the Stone spins a non-stop, action-packed tale as intricate and significant to Scotland's history as its titled arachnid and her web.

James Douglas, known to England and history as “the Black Douglas”, fights under command of and alongside his lifelong friend and king, Robert the Bruce. They struggle for Scottish independence from England, its king “Longshanks,” and his Plantagenet progeny, fighting a war that started long ago, but stoked when they were lads by the famed William Wallace. Along the way, they escape grisly skirmishes and employ tactics previously unseen by their English counterparts.

Nevertheless, Robert the Bruce is not Douglas's only master. Love also rules James's heart. Belle became his heart's desire the first moment they met as children. Through political maneuvers of her family and the general upheaval of the time, they are separated. But the fire of their mutual passion cannot be drowned, even by distance. James's love for Belle endangers them both and forces him many times to make a choice: Scotland or his heart.

Mixing Scottish lore, opposing theories of Christian theology, political intrigue, battle strategy, and heartfelt angst, The Spider and the Stone by Glen Craney weaves a harrowing tale of courage and love. Love for one's king. Love for one's country. Love for one's true mate. I recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in Scotland's heritage and history, well-written war novels, or historical fiction in general.

Sara E. Dykes enjoys reading, writing, classic film, and any combination thereof. She is a Georgia licensed attorney with an LL.M. concentration in gender and health law. Sara currently resides in Dallas, Texas, where she works in the discovery side of the legal field.

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