Publisher: Brigid's Fire Press.
Genre: Historical fiction, Scotland, Black Douglas, Edward I, Edward II, Edward III, England, 14th century.
Source: Free ebook copy from Glen Craney in exchange for a review.
Rating: 4 stars for very good.
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James Douglas was born in 1286 A.D. His father was William the Hardy, Lord of Douglas. He was a Scottish nobleman and fought alongside William Wallace. James was sent to Paris for safety when he was a boy. After returning to his homeland, he realized the family land was taken away by Edward I of England. This gave James Douglas a second reason for hating Edward I and his descendants.
James Douglas met Robert the Bruce. They became friends and allies. Douglas served Bruce with loyalty until the end.
The Spider and the Stone is a historical fiction story about the life of James Douglas. He was known by the English as the Black Douglas. He was known in Scotland as Good Sir, James Douglas.
In addition to the chronological life story, is a weaving of magic, the Templars, the three kings named Edward, a bittersweet romance, a yearning for Scotland's independence, and the expense of being a warrior.
There are moments when The Spider and the Stone has an Arthurian quality. When characters experienced apparitions, visions, or dreams. When sorcery and magic was utilized. I wondered if Craney had tried to create an ethereal atmosphere to the story?
James Douglas is the hero. He is the protective and conquering warrior risking his life for his country and loved ones. He is a moral person and near perfect. He is faithful and brave. He is a person who exhibits all that is endearing and admiring to people. On one hand, he is a hero that we look up to and hope to attain. On the other hand, it's beyond our grasp to reach.
While reading The Spider and the Stone, I thought how lovely it would be to hear the story read to me. I believe it is a story worthy of reading aloud. (Except for one particular part.)
Edward II's grotesque death is depicted. This is the only place in the story that I did not like. I've read other books where his form of death is debated as either fact or fiction. But I've not read until this book the sadist details of his torturous death.