Molly's Reviews

A Call to Faith and Freedom
Shirley A. Roe

Captivating Read ... Recommended ... 4 stars

The account begins in the mouth of a cave with nineteen-year-old Moreall sitting upon a midnight stallion. Impersonating the Queen’s cousin Anne, she had come to the King’s court after Beltane a fortnight ago. With Anne is the Queen’s brother Phillip who in reality is Moreall’s lover Armand. The real Anne and Phillip have not been seen by the Queen in sometime, and have been captured and brought to the island. Moreall and Armand must rid themselves of their escort assigned to accompany Moreall to Northumbria and set out for the Highlands where her father Angus is waiting. Moreall hopes he is waiting, Angus was seriously injured in battle and Moreall does not know if he has survived or not. With Christians threatening to destroy their Celtic past and many Druid priests killed and captured as well as King Edmund threatening to take their homeland life has become more and more precarious for those living in the Celtic lands. Dunmore Castle, Vildar the Arch Druid, the island of Iona is taken over by the Christian Columba, and the old ways are slipping and being replaced. Anne and Phillip escape, Angus’ son is held in a dungeon and the Christians rampage across the land in an effort to control the land and replace the present religion with their own. Life, death, renegade machination, medieval strongholds, Cimmerian forests replete with fairies, battles between knights on horse back and sunlit meadows overflowing with honey scented wildflowers and clear running burns fill the pages and further the account. Passion and celebrations complete with tables filled with wild game and mutton together with brimming tankards of ale, song and lyrics, excitement and drama carry the reader further into the work. Great legends would grow and be told for generations of the morn that the Arch Druid and the High Priestess rose magically, mystically out of the sun over Glenden.

"A Call to Faith and Freedom" is an exhilarating tingle packed read enacting a scrupulously crafted representation of seventh-century feudal Scotland. The period was a time when invading Christians employing barbarous and uncivilized torment at times including rape and death as they sought to coerce the conversion of the native Celts who were determined to be pagans by the Christians. This Scottish descendant found author Roe’s characters to be so genuine the reader expected to see them appear nearby. Throughout the breathless action Roe’s characters confront life changing situations, ups and downs, ardor and ruination which history shows were part and parcel of that time and era. The work is both edifying and enjoyable as writer Roe dispenses her knowledge of the Celtic faith in this drama centering around two Celtic clans. Writer Roe has obviously done her homework; Celtic fundamental principles, moral practice, protocol, and religious customs are depicted in vivid detail. Settings are detailed together with being so descriptive the reader feels he/she may reach out and touch heather or fern nearby, smell the heady honey scent of mead, or watch as the stark beauty of the Scottish Highlands appear.

Writer Roe has taken a wee portion of the history of the Scottish people and has woven a compelling tale that engages the reader straight into the storyline and does not let go until the last paragraph is reached. Every imaginable human sentiment is put forth in an always shifting energy filled milieu in this must read historical fiction.

Excellent addition to the home and public pleasure reading library, home schoolers will find the work fills two slots; reading for pleasure and learning a bit of history at the same time.

Sure to please all who enjoy a bit of historical fact interwoven in their fiction reading.

Enjoyed the read, happy to recommend.




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© 2005 by Molly Martin