Thursday 18 October 2018

By Sword and Storm by Margaret Skea

(The Munro Scottish Saga Book 3)

Fictional Saga
France /  Scotland

“1598. The French Wars of Religion are drawing to an end, the Edict of Nantes establishing religious freedom in all but Paris. For the exiled Adam and Kate Munro, the child Kate carries symbolizes a new life free from past troubles, despite their lingering nostalgia for Scotland and the friendship of the Montgomeries. When Adam foils an attempt on the French king’s life the whole family are called to court. But religious tensions remain high, and Paris holds dangers as well as delights. For the Munros and Montgomeries alike, these are troubled times…”

Alas, I have not read the first two books of the series – this third part, which I believe is the Grand Finale of the series – wasn’t, perhaps, the best place to meet such vividly drawn characters, so I’ll have to go back to Book One and the beginning. By Sword And Storm is fine as a stand-alone, but all good things are best started at the beginning right?

The Munro family, consisting of Adam, Kate, his wife and their children are in France with Adam and eldest son, Robbie, serving Henri IV with duties which include being a personal bodyguard to the French King. Ms Skea obviously knows her facts and the research, which seems impeccable, is deftly woven in with the imagined fictional scenes, with real people rubbing shoulders alongside the made-up ones.

I found the novel interesting because I have heard of the Edict of Nantes and the Huguenots but knew very little of the details behind both. Reading a well-written novel about the subject is a very good way of discovering more about history as opposed to wading through what often tends to be a dry academic history book.

The scenes set in Scotland were just as interesting as those set in France, the feuds, the political upheavals, the laws made by James VI – which in this instance included the ban of duelling, a law which was mostly ignored (for many years!)

My only nit-pick would be the depth of the complex political issues which needed detailed explaining. The detail here was probably necessary but I did somewhat stumble over them, again possibly because I know nothing of this period of history – French or Scottish – and I have not read the first two in the series, which may make the stumbles more likely. I don’t want to say some of this political necessity was tedious, but I do admit to skipping a few sentences.

However, the  details of general  life at a royal court or in a remote Scots croft were a delight to read, as was, overall, this gripping, expertly written  novel.

© Anne Holt

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  1. I read this and enjoyed it very much.

  2. This reminds me, I need to get this book. I was going to get it a year ago. :( I have read the first two before this one was finished and was going to get it right away. You're right, Margaret is a terrific writer, and I happen to enjoy history. Perfect combination.


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