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The Candlemass Road Paperback – 4 Nov 1996

3.7 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; New Ed edition (4 Nov. 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006477208
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006477204
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13.1 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 295,143 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'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!’
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

See all Product Description

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An unusual book, I found it a quick read but surprisingly moving. I think the historical authenticity excellent for a work of fiction. I'll definitely re-read it in the future. This is principally the same story as 'The Reavers' except that Candlemass Road is serious and Reavers very, very funny. I'm glad for this reason I read 'The Reavers' first as I don't know if I would have got into it if I'd read Candlemass Road first.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Brilliant! This is the absolute best type of historical fiction (sometimes called 'faction') and really is an answer to critics who complain about the blurring, as they see it, between fact and fiction. In the first instance, history is often simply opinion (and is usually written by the winners so cannot necessarily be relied upon). The greatest advantage though is that by creating characters (sometimes a mix of fact & fiction) the reader can identify with the impact of history on these characters rather than the cold 'facts' or dates attested to by historians, thereby bringing the times to life. But GMF was a historian and knows as much about the times of the 'Border Reiver' as anyone (see 'The Steel Bonnets'), but mix this with his skills as a writer (The Great 'Flashman' diaries are an example as well as screenwriting credits for 'Octupussy the James Bond movie)the 'Borders' are brought to life.

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.
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Format: Paperback
The story is written in the language of the time. Once you get accustomed to it the book is a riveting read.
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.
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By W. Black VINE VOICE on 26 Mar. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Either this has dated very badly or it's just badly written. The whole thing is written in a sort of phonetic 'cod' Northumberland dialect, which become irritating after a time. It's a pity,. I've read just about everything else by the same author and enjoyed just about every word...
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Format: Paperback
George MacDonald Fraser has given us, in "The Candlemass Road", an intriguing little book. There is certainly interest attached to the story as it's a working of somebody's historical diaries from a fascinating period of turmoil, not simply a straight novel.

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.
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Format: Paperback
This book instantly propelled itself into my top ten ( though there is no specific order other than that!) I picked it up a while ago then put it down mistakenly as it turned out because of the style. I was just too tired at the time. Its written in a period style, which is easily adapted too, a bit like watching Shakespear play, you soon get 'into it' and it becomes delightful. It has been described as an afternoon read, but I found it was one of those books you never wanted to end and so I stretched it out over two weeks savoring it. It has comedy, tragedy and romance and I disagree with some peoples reviews about the ending, its abrupt and harsh just like the times.
Would like to write something negative to balance this out. It was too short!
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