Sunday 6 March 2016

Carole's Sunday review: The spider and the stone - Glen Craney

Author: Glen Craney
Title: The Spider and the Stone
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: ebook
First Published: October 2013
Where I Got It: My shelf (Given to me by the author/publisher for my honest and unbiased opinion)

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 him as their "Good Sir James." In England, his slashing raids deep into Yorkshire and Northumbria wreak such terror that he is branded the Black Douglas with a reward placed on his head.

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. But 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. Both now take their rightful places with Robert Bruce, Rob Roy, and William Wallace in the pantheon of Scot heroes.

I have been looking forward to this read since I was first contacted in request to read and review this. Why? For many reasons. 1) I love the tale of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. 2) I know little of Black Douglas. 3) I got some Scottish blood and I am on their side of this fight. 4) I read one of his books a little while ago and I loved it.

I am certainly glad I read this!!

This certainly was an intriguing book! It was an interesting way to look at the events of the late 13th and early 14th century in Scotland, England, and France. It made me curious to learn more about the Black Douglas.

Oooooh Longshanks you big ol' baddie you! I loved the portrayal of this King. Sure he was a fierce and ruthless king to his enemies, but also to his own subjects. BUT he was also fierce with upholding the laws and he certainly had many dreams and desires to make the isle whole. However, he was cruel man, in my opinion, overall. He does make a good baddie. I did like that the author made him more of a complex character (more realistic) then the Braveheart  movie did. The movie simply made him a black-hearted, evil baddie. To the Scots and Welsh, he was, but in reality he was much more complex then the movie and other books admit. So major kuddos on that.

Honestly, I approve and adore what the author did for the huge blank spaces in history that have been forgotten. He makes some good ideas and they seem possible! Like who the mother was for Black Douglas' children. Also, I really liked Isabelle and I loved how she played a larger role in the events then some historians will grant her normally.

The transformation from scrawny young boy to badass warrior was fun. After reading this, I went on a little research hunt to learn more about the man himself and what others theorize about him. 

My only complaint with this book is the fact that there was SO much going on. Yes, in reality, there was a lot going on, but sometimes things need to cut/simplified in writing a story. I'm glad I have a pretty good knowledge of this time period and the war that I was able to follow. But there were times I felt overwhelmed with information that I would have to stop reading and let my brain absorb what I just read. The sudden POV change didn't help matters either. 

Overall though, I did enjoy this story a lot. I wish there wasn't so much going on and that the POV wouldn't change at a drop of the hat, but I adore the writing style and the story itself. I loved the portrayal of all the characters, even the baddies. This certainly did justice to Black Douglas and it made me want to learn more about him even though I had always been meh about him compared to other heroes of Scotland like Wallace, Roy, or Bruce. I would LOVE to see this turn into a TV show. ;) I highly recommend this to those lovers of history, especially about the Scots war for Independence. Now, I've been struggling with what to stamp this book.........ummmmmm.......mmmmmm.......3 stars. 


  1. Love when they make you curious about what actually happened. Sounds pretty good!

  2. It does sound like a lot of information, but sounds like a great read! Glad to see you enjoyed :)

  3. You have me intrigued, Carole! I love medieval era stories and its always better when the heroes and villains are given some attention to make them in depth characters with shades of gray.

  4. even with so much going on, it sounds like the author did a good job there!

  5. I like when the fictional aspects woven into a tale like this seem plausible



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