Title – The Spider and the Stone: A Novel of Scotland’s Black Douglas
Author – Glen Craney
Genre – Historical Fiction
Length – 433 Pages
Publication – Oct 2013
My Rating – 5/5 Stars
As the 14th century dawns, the brutal Edward Longshanks of England schemes to steal
Scotland. But inspired by a headstrong lass, a frail, dark-skinned boy named James
Douglas defies three Plantagenet kings and champions the cause of his wavering friend, Robert Bruce, to lead the armies to the bloody field of Bannockburn. A thrilling epic of star-crossed love and heroic sacrifice set during the Scottish Wars of Independence.
First off I must say Robert Bruce has to be one of my favourite historical figures. I’ve not read much on the subject of the Scottish Wars of Independence but the little I know has always fascinated me.
This book focuses on James Douglas otherwise known as Black Douglas. I won’t lie.. I knew nothing of the man. Everything I’ve read always focuses on either Robert Bruce or William
Wallace (who also makes an appearance in this book) so it was great to read a story focused on someone else
Glen has written this book starting from James and his boyhood years and admits filling in some of the gaps in Douglas’s life where we just don’t have any information to go on. I know some people don’t like when authors speculate but I believe this is where authors shine.. and Glen is no exception
One of the best parts throughout the books was the relationship between Isabelle MacDuff and
James, the author explains why he decided to write that a relationship between the two could have existed and it made for an excellent and plausible read, it gave real depth to the story
Throughout the book we see the stress James is put under, which threatens his relationship with both Isabelle and Robert. I can’t imagine what it would have been like but Glen manages to get across how hard it must have been at time for the people of Scotland.
I really liked how Glen managed to bring everything to life.. the period, the setting, the people. It brought home that although some of this book maybe fiction that the overall subject of Scotland versus England actually happened and has sowed the seed in me to read more on the subject.
I’d highly recommend this book, it has everything you could want, war, love, death, betrayal, patriotism and some awesome dogs (Cull & Chullan, I loved those mutts)
My only advice to the reader is to make sure you read the authors notes at the end of the book. I always think it’s important to distinguish fact from fiction. Personally I think what Glen added to this book just gave something extra to the tale that made it the gripping read it was and hopefully you’ll agree