Book Title: Caledon
Series: Caledon (Book One)
Author: Virginia Crow
Publication Date: 22nd January 2019
Page Length: 180 (A4 size) – the book is approx. 80,000 words
Genre: Historical Fantasy
By Virginia Crow
"Go out and tell all those you meet, Caledon has risen. Caledon will be protected and defended. And to you who would cause her harm, be prepared. A new fight has come."
After the destruction of the Jacobite forces at Culloden, Scotland is divided, vulnerable and leaderless, with survivors from both sides seeking to make sense of the battles they have fought against their fellow Scots.
James Og flees Drumossie, seeking the protection of his uncle's house in Sutherland. It is here that James learns that the Northern Highlands hold a secret power only he can wield: Caledon. When Ensign John Mackay begins hunting Og's family, James realises he must harness this power to defeat the enemies of Scotland.
But, as the ageless Caledon awakes, so too does an ancient evil. When it allies with Mackay, the small Clan of Caledon faces enemies at every turn, discovering that even those closest to them may seek to destroy them.
Universal Link: https://books2read.com/Caledon
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B083JNL9NK
Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B083JNL9NK
Virginia grew up in Orkney, using the breath-taking scenery to fuel her imagination and the writing fire within her. Her favourite genres to write are fantasy and historical fiction, sometimes mixing the two together. She enjoys swashbuckling stories such as The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas and is still waiting for a screen adaption that lives up to the book!
When she's not writing, Virginia is usually to be found teaching music. She believes wholeheartedly in the power of music, especially as a tool of inspiration. She also helps out with the John o' Groats Book Festival which is celebrating its 4th year.
She now lives in the far-flung corner of Scotland. A doting spaniel-owner to Orlando and Jess, Virginia soaks up in inspiration from the landscape as she ventures out with her canine companions.
She loves cheese, music, and films, but hates mushrooms.
Social Media Links:
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Virginia-Crow/e/B078QBNYFB/
James Og was a graceful man; thin, tall and with an agility which was beyond compare, even amongst the nimble highland men. In his youth, he had scaled the sheer mountains of his west highland home for enjoyment and sport. But on this terrain, a low hill by comparison, he could not find his footing. Mary ran a few paces behind while Robert Mackenzie, despite his advanced years, leapt ahead finding a safe path. James watched the half-blind man with an awe which only grew as they continued. He was unfazed by the wind pouring sleet down upon them, or the crying of the dogs which denoted Donald had failed to conceal their direction.
The night was deep when, at last, the lights of Lairg came into view and all three of the travellers gave relieved sighs as the houses became more than distant lights. The buildings took shape as they continued, the stone walls creeping out from the black night. It was their mistake, a bitter mistake, to stand and gaze at this safe haven, for the baying of the hounds echoed from the glen's sides and they found themselves ensnared.
"Get up the ben," cried Robert and he leapt forward while James coaxed Mary to follow him. She had wept with tiredness an hour into their flight. Since then, however, she seemed not to notice what was happening around her but followed meekly where she was led, too tired to argue or cry. They had climbed barely twenty feet when the frighteningly familiar sound of shot filled the air, and the accompanying flash of light left James more blind than the old man.
"Father!" Mary screamed, rushing forward as the old man collapsed under the shot. James knelt next to him, trying to ease him.
"Take her away from here, James Og," commanded Mackenzie. "I'll not die at the hands of this wound, and I'll not have my daughter die because of it, either."
James looked down at the blood which spilt from the old man's side and nodded quickly. "Come, Mary. We must leave."
"I shall not leave my father," she protested, her strength returning through the terrible image before her.
"Mary, his wound is not fatal, but a nightmare awaits you if you remain to be taken by them."
To strengthen the truth of James' words Robert rose and began walking once more towards Lairg, pulling the hounds attention and waving his hand in a carefree way to dismiss his daughter's claims. He vanished away from them whilst Mary wept onto James' shoulder. Her crying stopped as another shot echoed through the glen and she turned to try and find her father, but he had fallen once more. She shook herself free from James' grasp and raced down the hillside, collapsing to her knees beside her father who now had a second wound to his chest.
"I told you to go with James," he stammered.
"Father, I couldn’t leave you." She gave a small cry as the pack of hounds, which had so intently chased them, reached her and she struck at them with her hands, trying to keep them from her father. She hardly noticed their teeth, but continued to struggle against them, kicking them, hitting them, anything she could think of to keep them away.
"Back!" A strong voice commanded and, as one, the seven dogs retreated. John Mackay climbed down from his horse and looked across, shaking his head scornfully. "Is it not enough shame for you to carry the name Mackenzie?" he asked of the old man, snatching Mary's bleeding arm and pulling her from his side. "Must you also harbour an outlaw, and even resort to running." He looked around purposefully as he tossed Mary back towards the gathered soldiers who caught her with open arms. "And where is your cousin now? He has fled like the coward he is."
Robert Mackenzie, a man in whom the resolve of Highland stubbornness was never more prevalent, pushed himself to his feet. He was covered in cuts from the dogs' teeth and the two shot wounds continued to bleed. Yet for all the knowledge his own death was impending, he would not allow himself to be addressed in such a way.
"He is well safe from you, and as God knows there is no greater coward than that one known as Mackay."