Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Hunted and Harried

Summer is here and an extended summer vacation in St Andrews. However, before settling into the relaxation on the east coast, my family enjoyed a week on the west coast island of Coll. (Population 220 and some of the finest and quietest beaches in Scotland.)

Sensibly my wife suggested an early night in view of the long road and ferry journey. I agreed, but first there was the matter of a World Cup game... So at 11:30 p.m. I made my way to bed and took up a book to prepare for sleep. Mistake!

"Hunted and Harried" by R M Ballantyne is a tale of the Scotttish Covenanters. I don't read a lot of novels and the fact that I put the finished book down at 3:30 a.m. probably explains why. But this was not down simply to my own indiscipline, but rather to an exceedingly good read.

Ballantyne was an unashamedly didactic writer for whom the Christian faith was foundational. He weaves a fictional narrative around the historical facts of the Covenanting struggle in south west Scotland. The narrator explains the history and as he recounts the sufferings of the church he introduces some of the major figures in the Covenanting period - Cargill, Cameron, Renwick, the Wigtown martyrs, John Brown of Priesthill and other heroes of the "Killing Time".

Written originally for younger readers it is highly recommended. Now out of copyright it is available free at Openlibrary.org and can be sent directly to your Kindle.