The Candlemass Road Paperback – 4 Nov 1996
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'The Candlemass Road' is a simple tale, beautifully told; and very moving withal! It's an afternoon's reading that'll stick in the memory for long afterwards. Hooray for George Macdonald Fraser!' SPECTATOR 'It's George MacDonald Fraser is top form on the Borders, juggling lairds and outlaws in bitter battling over disputed territory.' MAIL ON SUNDAY, 'Books of the Year' 'A bravura performance! fine, taut, sinewy! Meat never came redder.' DAILY TELEGRAPH 'George MacDonald Fraser is such a good storyteller! we get bowled along in the twists and scrapes of the action.' GLASGOW HERALD
From the Back Cover
To the young Lady Margaret Dacre, raised in the rich security of Queen Elizabeth's court, the Scottish border was a land of blood and brutal violence, where raid and murder were commonplace, and her broad inheritance lay at the mercy of the outlaw riders and feuding tribes of England's last frontier. Beyond the law's protection, alone but for her house servants and an elderly priest, she could wait helpless in her lonely manor, or somehow find the means to fight the terror approaching from the northern night…
‘'The Candlemass Road' is a simple tale, beautifully told; and very moving withal… It's an afternoon's reading that'll stick in the memory for long afterwards. Hooray for George Macdonald Fraser!’
‘It's George MacDonald Fraser is top form on the Borders, juggling lairds and outlaws in bitter battling over disputed territory.’
MAIL ON SUNDAY, 'Books of the Year'
‘A bravura performance… fine, taut, sinewy… Meat never came redder.’
‘George MacDonald Fraser is such a good storyteller… we get bowled along in the twists and scrapes of the action.’
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Top Customer Reviews
This is not a complex story, based on what it seems was a true but under-documented minor episode in the history of the time, it breathes life into the every day struggles of people trying to 'get by' in a lawless and harsh environment, with nothing but themselves and their 'clan' or 'surname' to rely upon. There was no law to turn to with any surety of outcome, and what there was was as likely to side with the offender as the aggrieved dependant upon pragmatism, their own allegiances or straighforward corruption.
His use of the arcane language, whilst making it tougher to read, it does sit the reader plumb in the middle of the times and thereby brings the whole period to life and explains how, when law is absent or corrupt, then people will, understandably take the law into their own hands.Read more ›
I have read novels which romanticize these times. Not this one. Based on a similar incident which really occurred, it is gritty and bloodthirsty,reflecting the harsh and brutal lives of the reivers. A people living on the border between England and Scotland, constantly caught up in those countries' struggles and wars with each other.This bred a race of hard people who had bore the brunt for almost 300 years and knew no protection from their sovereign.
They had no alternative but to live by their own rules to keep their kin safe and they carried on the raiding, savagery and lack of respect for human life when the fighting was finished.
You are propelled into the story whilst reading. You can smell, see and feel the experiences for yourself. I kept imagining what could I have done with no one to trust or turn to; a law corrupt. How pampered we are today.
The ending reflects the life they led and I only wish the story had gone on longer.
I have sent for the author's non fiction book 'The Steel Bonnets' as a result to find out more about the reivers.
The book is a worthwhile buy for a number of reasons, not least because it's very well written (although one could argue 'too well written', as it's presented in period style and quite a jar when you first get into it). Also, it turns out to be one of those books that linger in the memory long afer you've put them down. The only real downside I can tell you about is that the 'climax' of the story happens way before the end - I suppose this is the way with true-life accounts - and the final sections of the novel do little more than tidy the story up.
Still, it's a brilliantly-written piece, nicely paced for the most part, and extremely atmospheric. The characters are brought to life beautifully and the sense of time-and-place are conjured wonderfully.
This is certainly not a 'must', but you won't regret buying it if you're interested in historical fiction.
Would like to write something negative to balance this out. It was too short!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Anyone expecting Flashman will be disappointed. Had to give up, as it is unnecessarily verbose and loads of words of the time I had to look up. Sorry, not for me this time.Published 2 months ago by victor meldrew and then some
Interesting novel,more of an extended short story.
Good historical detail as always where is this author. Read more
Just not easy to get into, Or not my sort of reading. Found it slow going and abandoned it early on.Published 22 months ago by Buzzscorpion
I did not find this as entertaining as other G.M.F. books. His usual historic accuracy was brilliant, as was the description. I liked the Flashman series and The Reavers more.Published on 29 May 2014 by plug
I Enjoyed reading this G M Fraser novel after reading his Steel Bonnets, account of lives of the Border Reivers.Published on 23 Nov. 2013 by Patricia L Graham
Once again the author has come with an excellent tale of skulduggery and derring-do from a time long since forgotten.Published on 25 Oct. 2013 by Mrs SB Houchen