Customer Reviews


5 Reviews
5 star:
 (2)
4 star:
 (1)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lost kingdoms uncovered
This is a remarkable story of Scotland. It is authoritative and a compelling narrative of
a journey hitherto not laid-out in such a readable fashion. So much of Scottish History is
buried in layers of myth.

Alistair Moffat has given the reader a realistic approach to the 'faded map'... making sense
of this conundrum and it provides the ability...
Published on 5 Jan 2012 by Dag Stomberg

versus
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What Is Not Lost Cannot Be Found
The Faded Map is a missed opportunity. It purports to be a description of the lost kingdoms of Scotland, in particular focusing on the kingdoms outside of Gaelic and Pictish control. Alistair Moffat has a very readable style but the line between popular and speculative history is thin. Moffat's speculative history might be engaging in a book about lost kingdoms but...
Published 13 months ago by MLA


Most Helpful First | Newest First

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What Is Not Lost Cannot Be Found, 31 May 2013
By 
MLA (Wien, Österreich) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Faded Map: The Lost Kingdoms of Scotland (Paperback)
The Faded Map is a missed opportunity. It purports to be a description of the lost kingdoms of Scotland, in particular focusing on the kingdoms outside of Gaelic and Pictish control. Alistair Moffat has a very readable style but the line between popular and speculative history is thin. Moffat's speculative history might be engaging in a book about lost kingdoms but this is not such a book. Surprisingly, Faded Map is about Roman and Anglian Britain. It covers almost nothing of Scottish history at all. Other books about late and post Roman Britain typically cover Scotland in more depth than Moffat's supposedly dedicated coverage offers.

The first chapter of Faded Map is outstanding. It is engaging and eminently readable. The chapter introduces the subject in exactly the format a reader might hope for. The tales of lost kingdoms will be told, the stories of great names from the Brythonic Scotland will be explored. Intriguing physical features that demarcate lines of control between different competing dynasties will be analysed.

None of any of that actually happens in Faded Map. It seems the first chapter and the rest of the book were conceived entirely separately. Moffat states that his work will show the Gaelic conquest of Scotland was not inevitable. He does not even try. The mystery and sense of wonder from the first pages of the book are entirely not replicated later on.

What does appear later on is sub-standard history of things that are not lost. Roman Britain is not part of the faded map, it is a very well covered part of history. Anglian Britain, in particular the Northumbrian Kingdoms of Bernicia and Deira are well known. These are not lost, they do not need to be found.

Discussing Roman Britain at length would not be a problem if Moffat was advancing historical knowledge in some way. He is not. Moffat's logical leaps are great in areas where such leaps draw threads together. In the case of Roman Britain there are not a huge number of threads with unknown ends so the drawing of them together through speculation is merely amateurish. Moffat's views on Rome and its eventual decline are un-interesting. Such a shame in a book purportedly about Scotland to read such unimpressive comment on Rome.

Indeed, it is only a couple of pages right at the end of the book which cover a Scottish kingdom. For some reason the first 230 pages are build-up for 20 pages about Strathclyde. The balance does not make sense. There is so much discussion about aspects of Bernicia for instance but Bernicia is relatively well known. Strathclyde should have been more central to the tale than Bernicia. Strathclyde has less coverage and a speculative writer like Moffat could have achieved so much more.

Instead what we get is very strange. The sources are of course limited so a few very well known ones will feature prominently. Surprisingly Moffat's analysis of The Venerable Bede is beyond amateur. Moffat is intensely critical of Bede without offering credible analysis of why he takes such a disparaging view. Despite that he repeatedly offers Bede's words as being literally gospel when it comes to Bede's hagiographies. In describing saintly behaviour in an over-the-top manner, Bede must be telling the exact truth apparently. This makes no sense at all, it is in hagiographic writing that the most exaggerated claims are made. Why Moffat takes this aspect of Bede's writing at absolute face value but not other elements of Bede's work just makes no sense at all.

Moffat also needs a better editor. The structure of his book is poor. Paragraphs ramble into one another using segue which makes it so hard to follow the narrative. All of a sudden a particular line of thinking jumps into something completely different. Very hard for a reader to suddenly switch gears without having a structure to fall back on.

The structure of the book is also badly designed in that it offers far too little about Brythonic Scotland and far too much about Anglian or Roman. If Moffat was unable to find the evidence he needed to write sufficiently about what he describes as Welsh Scotland then at least develop a narrative about Strathcylde. Moffat seemt to want to write the tale of the Welsh in Scotland, he makes pointed reference to excellent examples of more modern views on equality than is typical of a dark ages despot. Yet there is no context. Why is it that the Welsh in Scotland were not more closely linked to the Welsh in Wales?

Moffat also needs an editor to fix his use of adjectives. On half a dozen occasions Moffat describes the work of another author as being 'magisterial'. Sure it is a fun word but use it once not every time, use a thesaurus if necessary. The poor use of English merely adds to the amateurish feel of the work.

The Faded Map is a real disappointment. It does not tell of the Lost Kingdoms of Scotland. It falls short of professional historian standards. There is very too much of the author's unusual views of well catalogued people and places. Far too little about Scotland. This is not the story it pretends to be.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lost kingdoms uncovered, 5 Jan 2012
This review is from: The Faded Map: The Lost Kingdoms of Scotland (Paperback)
This is a remarkable story of Scotland. It is authoritative and a compelling narrative of
a journey hitherto not laid-out in such a readable fashion. So much of Scottish History is
buried in layers of myth.

Alistair Moffat has given the reader a realistic approach to the 'faded map'... making sense
of this conundrum and it provides the ability of coming to grips with a fantastic heritage.

Strongly recommended!

Dag Stomberg
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great read, mixing history with speculative gap filling, 17 Sep 2013
By 
Geraint Rees "geraintrees2" (Cymru-Wales) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Faded Map: The Lost Kingdoms of Scotland (Paperback)
This is a hugely enjoyable read. It focuses on a long stretch of history and looks at the peoples who inhabited the north of England and middle and lower Scotland. The lack of knowledge by the English that they are relatively recent arrivals on the island and that the stretch from Scotland to Cornwall was inhabited by the early Britons/Brythonic Welsh is inexcuslable. This book should be read by all intelligent Britons to understand the context of much of what we are resolving throught he devolution debate.

Having been brought up on the tales of Urien Rheged, Elmet and Taliesin, it's good to see them re-told in English so that a wider audience can appreciate the misty past of the Welsh oral tradition. Diolch Mr Moffat.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Lost kingdoms of England, 5 Sep 2012
It is misdescribed to call itself a Scottish history at all. It contains no history at all of anywhere north of Iona . Besides Iona itself and the battle of Mons Graupius, no history north of the Central Belt. It actually contains more English and Welsh history than Scottish, lots on Lindisfarne and Yorkshire. It gets maddening, to read page after page of thoroughly told familiar early English history and turning points in Welsh's development, even about Offa's Dyke, wondering when you are next going to read anything about Scotland at all. Always when you eventually reach a much briefer grudging nod to Scotland it just hugs around the Border or the Solway!

This work is not reliable history. He wishfully relocates King Arthur up to Carlisle and Galloway instead of his usual location, and it works just like every sensationalist speculation book would, it clutches selectively at every rather forced etymological comparability of names in local stories to claim to support the idea, the same as happens whenever a legend is laid claim to by several rival places. He does not analyse at all the claims of the local sources in the southern locations being decided against, or use comparison the merits of the Arthur stories' usual southern location to show why his obvious wishful thinking should be a stronger case.

He repeats without debate, and makes a lot of emotionally, the wrong myth that "Lloegr", Welsh for England, means lost land. Its etymology is actually unknown and very debated, a suggestion it might be linked to "laager" and Loire, implying low lying land. He downplays the Picts' presence in south Scotland, despite the Pentland Hills whose name comes from them, instead he claims the Roman period folks north of the 2 walls and the Gododdin who founded Edinburgh as all being Welsh people. Just because they spoke Ancient Welsh when it was the Celtic lingua franca of Ancient Britain does not make them Welsh or ancestral to modern Wales in any way. He writes from a very contrived radically Welsh agenda, he makes Scotland before the Angles' first contact sound like part of Wales, and he hardly mentions the peoples present in the majority of Scotland that he simply ignores, who disprove such a picture. Yet Welsh speaking readers will raise their eyebrows at his translations of some words.

He makes a a sensationalist speculation too, just asserted without analysis, about climate fluctuations happening just coincidentally just in the post-Roman time and supposedly causing the Roman civilisation in Britain to crumble - a very stretched coincidence for nature to do it ever so just after politics had made the Romans leave, eh?

It's more emotional than real and it's just an awful book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another gem, 11 Aug 2012
By 
M. Steedman (Edinburgh) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Faded Map: The Lost Kingdoms of Scotland (Paperback)
Alistair Moffat has a great interest about the peoples who came together and formed Scotland. This is just the latest in a whole series of books on that theme, and it is as good as the previous ones.

To an extent most of Alistair's books read like TV scripts, probably because there is a TV series tie in such as THE SEA KINGDOMS and BEFORE SCOTLAND. I have not seen a TV series for this book but the imagies he conjures up are as vivid as if on the TV.

The book concentrates on the "Border areas", that is those areas ajacent to a major power be it The Roman Empire or later the Angle kingdom of Nothumbria. How they are "bullied" and how they reacted.

Overall another excellant book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Faded Map: The Lost Kingdoms of Scotland
The Faded Map: The Lost Kingdoms of Scotland by Alistair Moffat (Paperback - 6 Mar 2014)
£8.74
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews