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Posted April 25, 2010
This is book two of the "Crown and Covenant" series. It is followed by book three Rebel's Keep (2004). After we read book one, Duncan's War, it took us three years to get to the sequels, but they are just as exciting. Set in the 1670s and 1680s, these books chronicle the persecution of the Scottish Covenanters by English kings Charles II and James II (both were Scottish Stuarts but Charles became Anglican and James was Catholic and both were intolerant of religious differences) and center around the fictional M'Kethe family, but many real individuals and incidents, especially the battles of Drumclog, Bothwell Brig, Airds Moss, and Loudon Keep, are woven into the story (maps are provided).
Whereas the first book focuses on Duncan M'Kethe, who is just coming to manhood at the time of the battle of Rullion Green, the latter two books focus more on his younger brother Angus and his relationship to Duncan's young son Malcolm. There are some important questions discussed in the books. Is there ever a time when it is right to engage in carnal warfare and even to kill an enemy in defense of one's family, or are these things always wrong? This is an issue which New Testament Christians have discussed and debated for years, and it is interesting to see how others have dealt with it.
Of course, if you want to avoid books that have warfare and killing in them, then you will not like these books. However, whether we agree with the outcome or not, we can still appreciate the willingness of these people to stand up and even die for their faith when called upon to do so. The stories also help us appreciate why our Founding Fathers placed so much importance on religious freedom. Rebel's Keep ends on a sad but hopeful note and sets the stage for the next series by Bond, "Guns and Thunder," with the M'Kethe family descendants in America.