Today I welcome Virginia Crow and her book, Caledon to my blog as part of her ongoing tour, arranged by The Coffee Pot Book Club. Caledon makes me think of an airline I travelled a lot with when I was a child, British Caledonian, but airplanes do not figure in Ms Crow’s book. Nope. Not a single plane in sight. Instead, there’s magic – both good and bad!
“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 that 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.
Universal Link: https://books2read.com/Caledon
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B083JNL9NK
Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B083JNL9NK
It is 1746 and the clans of Scotland have hit the dust at Culloden—or Drumossie, as Ms Crow prefers to call it. Historically correct, absolutely—Culloden was the name of the stately home set on Drumossie—and it is evident throughout Caledon Ms Crow knows her history.
One desperate man, James Og, is fleeing from the battle’s aftermath, hoping for a safe harbour with his Mackenzie kin. Except that nowhere is safe in Scotland—at least not for anyone who fought for Bonnie Prince Charlie. In fact, it isn’t safe for those clansmen who chose not to, as demonstrated in the first few pages where the antagonist of the story, John Mackay, happily kills James Og’s uncle, despite him being old, decrepit, and in no way involved with the Jacobites.
Ms Crow delivers a fast-paced story, one which at times is a tad confusing, this due to the constant head-hopping which makes it difficult to keep track of who’s POV we’re in. This reader finds that a struggle that somewhat detracts from the story as such.
I also had major problems with the character arc of Mary Mackenzie, James Og’s cousin and betrothed, who goes from hating Mackay with all her heart to instead hating James and her brother. It is a tad incomprehensible. Further to this, Mary is more than willing to use the dark arts to destroy her now so hated cousin. I must say I really enjoyed this aspect of the story, impressed by how effortlessly Ms Crow blended fantasy and historic reality—never does the magical element seem intrusive or unbelievable.
Fortunately for James, he too has supernatural forces on his side. In his case, it is the spirit of Scotland itself, the power that lives in every stone, burn, cliff, dell, that imbues James and his followers with strength, charging them with the task of uniting the sundered Scotland. James Og is no loner James Og, he is Caledon, the embodiment of the land, and as instructed by the spirit he calls together a small group of people who, together, are to fight for Scotland.
Ms Crow has populated her story with several likeable characters, principally James’ brave cousin Donald and the kind and capable Annie. I also liked how James goes from being something of a coward to a determined leader. Will Caledon emerge victorious despite the odds being so overwhelmingly against him? Well, I guess one has to read the second book of the series to find out!
About the Author
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. 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. 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 4th year.
She now lives in the far-flung corner of Scotland. A doting spaniel-owner to Orlando and Jess, Virginia soaks up in inspiration from the landscape as she ventures out with her canine companions.
She loves cheese, music, and films, but hates mushrooms.
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Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Virginia-Crow/e/B078QBNYFB/