The Spider and The Stone by Glen Craney

Publisher: Brigid’s Fire Press
Genre: Historical Fiction
ISBN:  978-0981648408
Length: 432 pages

Author’s website 
Download an excerpt

from the front flap:
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. 

Today my neighbor and friend, Patty Allingham, is going to submit a book report on this book for us!

This is my first time doing anything like this! Also my first time reading a book on an electronic device! I only had to call Peggy once to come over and fix it when I accidentally closed the book.

I love historical fiction and Scottish Historical fiction is even better! I was really pleased to get to read this book even if it meant I had to read it on the ereader. My husband always said to read a book twice, once for pure enjoyment and the second time for knowledge. I read this twice. The first time thru I had a hard time keeping the characters straight in my mind as there were so many of them. The second time around was a joy as I had them all squared away.

Robert the Bruce is a fascinating character and I learned a great deal in this book about him. Seemed to me to have been very well researched. The battle scenes, which was a large portion of the book, were vivid and exciting. That Robert the Bruce had a skin condition and was sick frequently was interesting news to me and sent Peggy and I searching for more info online. It appears he had leprosy, contracted while on crusade in Israel.

The other main character was James Douglas and although he turned out to be a hero for Scotland in the end, I never did warm up to his character. He seemed to disobey orders as a rule when he was young and ended up getting his father and his friend killed. There was also a tragic love story involving him.

Excellent book, I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend it. Thank you to Mr. Craney for letting me read it! And Peggy for loaning me her ereader, although I think I’ll stick to printed books from now on!

Patty Allingham

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