The Spider and the Stone: A Novel of Scotland's Black Douglas by Glen Craney
You may know by now that besides fantasy I love love love historical fiction and Scotland! And when these two combine I get sooo happy!! 😍So, when I was asked to read this book I couldn't possibly say no!
This novel takes place in Scotland during the 14th century, when the scottish clans are fighting each other for the empty throne and in the same time are fighting against the British in order to gain their freedom and independence. I loved how we get to know many historical figures of that time like William Wallace, James Douglas, King Edward of England and so many more and have a glimpse of how their lives might have been. The story follows James Douglas from his youth till the end.
He is an amazing character for sure!
I really admired his strength of character, his loyalty and his persistence. The struggles he has to face are so well described. On the one hand, there is his friendship with Robert and his duties to his country and on the other. the woman he loves with his whole heart. And as we follow him for his whole life it is beautiful to see how much he matures over the years, and how much it cost him. My heart ached for him! I could totally fantasize over being a Scottish warrior in his command! (Even being a woman!)
I also loved how the author describes the status of the women of that time where they had little influence on the course of events.
"There is nothing more useless in this country than a woman who has lost her man."
"A man can make his own destiny. A woman is bound by the dictates of others."
However, our main heroine, Belle, is an exception to this rule. She possesses an extremely dynamic character with remarkable determination. She does not hesitate to go against her own family in order to serve her homeland and follow her heart as she sees fit.
The writing style was something different for me, as I hadn't read any other book by Glen Craney, but I liked it. Using gaelic words here and there made it more authentic! (Thank you kindle version for the translation!) The battle descriptions were a bit longer than I would have liked but were not boring at all. I definitely recommend this book to those who love historical fiction! It would be the ideal present for New Year's Day!
I gave this book 4 / 5 stars!
Some of my favorite quotes (they may be many!):
"With honor comes duty."
"There be nothing stronger than a man's bond with his comrade in battle."
"If you are forged into this arrangement," he said with determination, "I promise I will one day make you a widow."
She greeted that naive boast with a forlorn smile of resignation.
"All of us,sooner or later, must give up the vanities of romance."
"This lady you love will pay dearly for your haute principles, James Douglas. Men make oaths. And the women suffer the consequences."
"You may advise the archbishop, sir, that I'd sooner follow a Scot king to Hell than an English king to Heaven."
"Have you ever wondered if the patterns of our lives might be foretold in a lone encounter?"
"It was not a woman who set those Greeks upon that journey," she reminded him. "It was a man's lust for war and revenge for a wife stolen by another man."
"With you dead there is nothing in life."
*Images are from the author's page here.
See you soon!