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Book Name: The Candlemass Road

Author: George MacDonald Fraser

$ 9.99


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Overall Rating: (4.8/5) View all reviews (total 5 reviews)
Description

'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--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Reviews

A dark adventure at a break-neck pace

by bensmomma "bensmomma"
(5/5)

In little less then 24 hours, the 16th-century young Lady Dacre arrives at the castle she has inherited on the Scots/English border, compels a wandering stranger to defend her tenants against roving brigands, falls for him (almost) and watches him leave.Although this sounds like a bodice-ripper romance, it's rather the opposite - a fierce, violent, even macho story of the terribly violent world of the "Border Counties" of the 16th century, told in an authentic dialect by Father Luis, a retainer of the Dacre family.McDonald-Fraser's novella (barely 150 pages) is remarkable for its economy; within a few paragraphs we have the main characters compellingly described and developed; within a few pages Waitabout (the stranger who defends her) has dashed off to save the village, within a chapter or two a terrible violent battle has erupted. The pace is breathtaking but not at the expense of fully realized characters.I will say, though, that the archaic Scottish dialect is not easy going at first; stick with it though, if you get in 10 pages you will not be able to put it down!


Awesome

by Chekkkk "JandJFord"
(5/5)

Dynamite read. Not long enough. I wanted more of these amazing characters and more story. None the less, if the reiver is something that interests you as it does me, then read Fraser here, and enjoy.


Good story

by David Henderson
(4/5)

I enjoyed the story very much, however I have been reading a lot about the Borders and Reivers and am interested in the period. My Father found the action slow in coming and ended up setting it aside in favor of a good western. I have to agree that the action was a bit sparse, but I enjoyed the fleshing out of the characters and the weaving of the backdrop. I look forward to reading more of his writing.


A brilliant novel

by G "Gnostic"
(5/5)

I have read a lot of novels in my life. This is one of the best. It is a different type of book but it details a simple story which illustrates human nature. All of the readers who asked that Fraser finish his story which resulted in a slapstick followup (which I pretend does not exist) are just unwilling to accept a realistic ending to what is a near perfect story. I have a copy of the first edition in hardcover and it is not a book that I will lend.I like the Flashman novels and Quartered Safe Out Here is excellent but I think this book is Fraser's masterpiece. If you like historical fiction then this is a must read.


Fraser in Top Form

by Paul McGrath
(5/5)

There really is no feeling like that of picking up an as-yet-unread novel by George MacDonald Fraser. It is one of delicious certainty: you will be entertained, you will be informed, and you will be charmed. Unfortunately I can only expect to have this experience a couple of more times in my life, as there just isn't that much left of his that I haven't read anymore. Alas, alas, alas.The locale in this one is the wild English/Scottish borderlands in 1598. Although England was mostly settled and Scotland was mostly settled, the midlands--under the jurisdiction of neither--were not, and bands of thieves and brigands--reivers--roamed about, terrorizing the countryside.For characters there is Luis Guevara, the teller of the tale and the meek priest of the Dacre estate, located in the middle of these badlands; there is Lord Ralph Dacre, the white-haired, crimson-clad Red Bull, Lord of the Estate, and scourge of the thieves; there is Lady Margaret Dacre, sharp-witted, fire-breathing, and newly come to the estate after the untimely death of her father; and there is finally Archie Noble Waitabout, a broken man, thief, and he who proved to be the Great Lady's protector.For plot there is the death of the Red Bull, "shot . . . through with calivers, nine balls in his body, and he let die by the roadside." Lady Margaret, bred in courtly London, comes to the estate and on the date of her arrival finds that the thieves are already attempting to reinstitute their filthy blackmail on her timid villagers. Those charged with helping her find excuses not to, for various reasons, but primarily because of their unstated fear of the dreaded Nixon clan. She turns to the imprisoned Waitabout, who in exchange for his life, agrees to go to the village and defend it.For language, there is the incomparable GMF, this time using the lingo of an educated Scot of the 16th Century, duplicating the feat of his bravura linguistic performance in Black Ajax. And there is his descriptive power, here, the narrator's first view of the village: "A sorry pack they were, the men-folk stout enough but dirty and ill-clad, the women as slatternly as I ever saw, and if there were three pairs of shoon among them it was enough."And the description of the battle itself, enough to make your blood run cold: "There was a great commotion about the bearded Nixon, him that was the leader and called Ill Will, and they tugged him all ways, some saying he should hang and others for having at him with their blades . . . they dragged him to the great dunghill that lay beside the cattle pen, and there heaved him up, and drave him down head foremost into the filth, and held him there."There you have it, another great GMF novel, this one without the romantic playfulness of the Flashman novels, but still with the driving narrative, expert use of the language, and superb research. You cannot go wrong with this author. He has easily reached the stature of his heroes: Stevenson, Doyle, Sabatini, and Dumas. Indeed, he may stand above them.


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