The Stone of Destiny
by Andrew Neil MacLeod
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Pub Date 31 Oct 2022 | Archive Date 31 Dec 2022
What if the Coronation Stone at Westminster—the stolen relic on which the High Kings of Scotland had been crowned for over seven hundred years—was a fake?
What if the true Stone of Destiny was still out there somewhere, hidden away by a Holy Order to protect it from English invaders?
When Doctor Johnson turns up at his friend James Boswell’s door after an absence of almost seven years, he makes Boswell an enticing proposition: to join him on a quest to recover the true Stone of Destiny.
What follows is a breathtaking journey through the Highlands and Lowlands of Scotland, from Edinburgh up to the furthest reaches of the northern isles. Plunged into a dizzying world of secret societies, occult mysteries and supernatural phenomena, the two friends leave no Neolithic stone unturned in their search to uncover the truth.
Can Johnson and Boswell keep one step ahead of those who would try to stop them?
And will they be willing to sacrifice all so that they can get all that they desire?
Eighteenth century Scotland has never been so magical... and terrifying.
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Average rating from 24 members
Beyond amazing! This book was an incredible read and I can't recommend it enough. This is a book you'll want on your shelf and to give as a gift. Everyone needs to read it.
This book transports the reader back to the late 1700’s for the adventures of Fr. Johnson and his friend Boswell.
Dr. Samuel Johnson and his friend James Boswell are having a discussion one day. Johnson ponders that the Stone of Destiny (the English stole this relic from Scotland years earlier) displayed at Westminster is a fake. Boswell exclaims what an adventure to look for the real one!
Seven years later Johnson sends Boswell a note inviting him to go with him to search for the real stone. They head to Scotland.
While on their search, the pair learn from an Abbott that someone else asked about the stone a few weeks earlier. They listen to the locals who all seem to have their stories, myths and rumors. They come by possible clues that take them forward on their travels. While at the very old Castle Gight, the owner Sir William, Lord Badenoch tells them more stories. But Boswell feels the presence of …something. He believes that he sees things. There are vast parts of the castle that are walled off, no longer used. Boswell wonders about that.
Enter a touch of the paranormal. Or perhaps it is more mythological. Mythology brought into reality.
Boswell has horrible and frightening dreams. He wonders if it is a past life experience or just night terrors. Johnson, too, was affected by sounds and feelings he could not explain.
The book contains excerpts from “The Casebook of Johnson and Boswell” that gives the reader more insight to the working of Boswell’s mind and his personality.
Secretly, Sir William believes the castle is cursed too. He had hoped that the curse would pass him by, but it has not.
As Johnson and Boswell continue their journey, they witness all manner of oddities. In the end, they triumph.
I really enjoyed the philosophic discussions, the history (both real and mythological), and the journey through 18th Century Scotland. It was a wonderful journey and I truly enjoyed myself. The book is well written. The reader gets a very good grasp of Johnson and Boswell; the kind of men they are and what is important to them. I will definitely look for more from Mr. MacLeod.
I want to thank NetGalley and Burning Chair for forwarding to me a copy of this remarkable book for me to read, enjoy and review. The opinions expressed here are solely my own.
I have to admit, that I got more and more absorbed with the book the more I read it. Unlike the first author's book "The Fall of the House of Thomas Weir", which gripped me from the very first page, this one was a slow burn case. That did not reduce its value or enjoyment of reading at all though.
These are Doctor Johnson's and his friend Boswell's adventures in Scotland filled with legends, myths and historical curiosities to the brim. There is only so much I can say without blurting out spoilers!
If historical fiction, based in Scotland, in the 1700s with some fantastic elements to it (through legends and myths), this book is definitely for you! Did I mention, that it encourages you to look up certain historical facts/curiosities for more information? Yeah, it's a book making you read more...
This is a very interesting idea, well realised. The story, as the author readily admits, is a number of set pieces held together by an overarching narrative added after at a later draft. This isn't really noticeable and certainly helps to make the book readable - which it definitely is. The author brings the period to life and draws the reader into the story.
An excellent, enjoyable romp and I would not be at all surprised to see this reaching the upper echelons of the best seller lists.
The Stone of Destiny really surprised me, I did not expect to enjoy it as much as I did. It was very entertaining. I definitely recommend it!
A quirky romp through the Highlands and Islands of Scotland on a magical search for the stone of Scone. I adored this book and didn’t want it to end . The blend of a celebrated author of the dictionary and Scottish myths and legends was intoxicating. I do hope there is another journey!
Okay, so my bad, I hadn't read the first novel. But it did not take away from the enjoyment I got out of this book what so ever.
It's written in a way that you quickly get to know all you need to about the two characters and the world that they were living in. It was a fun, twisted and creepy little romp through myth, legend and strange little places that existed between.
A fun book, no mistake, though I'm now off to read the first!
This might be the first ARC I will be giving 5 stars, but... It's worth it for sure. I went into this book ready to rip it to shreds, on the hunt for anachronisms and historical malady but... I stopped making notes quite soon as I was simply swept away. This book is best approached as a short story collection, but each of its parts is intriguing and tense and near impossible to put down. It's themes felt almost tailor made to the things I enjoy, too, further taking away my will to scrutinise. From mad scientists to werewolves, the Loch Ness monster and the Isles: Each of them written with a clear love for the country and its history. It was exciting!
That is to say it was not without its flaws... The English centric narrative occasionally grinded my gears, which were grinded even worse by the mention of ogham being "ancient druidic". And I wished that the narrative would play with local folklore just a bit more. I would have liked seeing the Celtic benevolent werewolves, or the boobrie bird, etc.
But. It cannot take away from my overall enjoyment. The writing style reminded me of HG Wells or Verne, seemingly taking inspiration from victorian writing at large, but with a more modern pacing that keeps it exciting. The plots hit hard and the descriptions, gruesome as they sometimes were, where incredibly lively. Splendid!
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