Today I’m delighted to be sharing an excerpt from Virginia Crow’s novel Caledon as part of a blog tour hosted by The Coffee Pot Book Club. Caledon is historical fantasy set in Scotland in the aftermath of the defeat of the Jacobite forces at the battle of Culloden.
Francis and Catherine were clearly brother and sister. They looked alike and spoke with the same tone of gentleness, but Francis was even more determined than his sister. He sat James down and pulled up his sleeve, looking thoughtfully at the wound. But when he spoke it was not to James.
“You should not be here. Father swore he would kill you if you set foot in this house once more.”
“William is here because I invited him,” Catherine said sternly.
“Father is in town but if he finds you here on his return, you know he’ll kill you.”
William remained silent but took Catherine’s hand and kissed it gently before he turned and saw himself out of the house. Donald felt suddenly uncomfortable as he realised what was dividing these two families. Looking over to the door, he began to walk sidewards towards it. He stopped as James muttered his name.
“Donnie, don’t leave.”
“You do realise I’ll have to cut the wound open once more to retrieve the shot. Would it not be better to leave it as it is?”
James looked across as the young surgeon spoke, before he shook his head. “I have much running to do over the next few months. I can’t afford to have it burst open once more. Take the ball out.” He had come a long way from that fearful coward who had fled Drumossie, but he still felt a nauseous sickness take him as Francis nodded and retrieved a small sharp knife while he spoke to his sister.
“Fetch me fresh water, Catherine. And the curved needle and some gut.”
James felt tears spring to his eyes as Francis began making the first incision, explaining that he would have to make two cuts to ensure that he could remove the musket ball without running the risk of pushing it further in. Donald stepped over to his cousin quickly as he gave a wordless cry, drawing away from the surgeon. Tutting in annoyance, Francis gripped James’ shoulder, trying to hold him still. Donald stood behind the chair and held his cousin so tightly he could no longer move. Francis seemed content with this situation and worked quickly, ignoring the sounds of the man before him which ceased only long enough for him to sob. He picked the shot out with fine forceps and dropped it into the bowl in Catherine’s hand, and at once blood rushed from his arm.
“Now we must stitch it as quickly as possible,” Francis said as though he was training someone. But his words were wasted on his patient for the pain and shock had become too much for James to bear and his head fell forward. Donald never ceased his hold on his cousin but spoke frantically.
“What can I do to help? He has fainted. What can I do?”
“It is most likely for the best,” Francis said casually as he took the threaded needled from his sister and tied in an anchoring knot. Donald watched with a curious fascination as the man, no older than himself, plied his morbid trade. At first James subconsciously pulled away but after a time he just sat lifeless in his cousin’s arms. Donald waited until Francis tied off the stitches before he loosened his grip on James. Catherine turned as the door opened and smiled as an older man walked in.
“Father,” she said with great warmth. “I was beginning to worry about you.”
“And with good cause. Government troops are only three miles from us, Catherine. We must flee.” He looked upon the scene before him and seemed to comprehend it for the first time. “Who are these men?”
“This is Donald Mackenzie, Father,” she said proudly. “And this is his cousin.”
“Mackenzies? You are not safe here, lad. Your chief’s lands are forfeit and your lives will be too if you’re found.”
Donald looked down at James who remained unconscious. He seemed so peaceful, having attained a calm Donald had never observed within him before. Francis washed his hands in no rush and dried them on a small cloth.
“He is not fit to move. You must keep him here for a time.”
“You can’t leave.” Donald walked forward. “Why would you wish to?”
“There was a man who used to live outside Ullapool. His name was David MacLeod.” Francis’ voice was as calm as it had ever been, but his manner seemed agitated now, his thin fingers twisting in the laces at the neck of his shirt. “He had a family and was loyal to his prince. He even hid him in the Catholic cell, and The Prince remained there safely for a night. Then MacLeod came under suspicion for his role, so the government troops tortured and raped his wife in front of him and his children until he relinquished the hiding place of The Prince. When he told them, they shot his wife and then each of his three children. The eldest was ten years old.” Francis looked over at his sister who clung to their father as though she was only a child. “The Prince has moved on, hidden elsewhere. But MacLeod was desperate to save his family, so he told the troops the names of those who had hidden him.”
“And I was one of them.” The old man lifted his head high in a proud gesture.
“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.
Caledon is available at
Universal Link • Amazon UK • Amazon US • Amazon AU • Amazon CA
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.
For more information about Virginia and her books click on the links below
Website • Twitter • Facebook • Instagram
BookBub • Amazon Author Page • Goodreads
More information on the Coffee Pot Book Club and other works of quality historical fiction can be found on Twitter and Instagram.
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
4 thoughts on “Caledon by Virginia Crow”
Thanks very much for hosting Virginia Crow today! xx
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My pleasure, Cathie.
Thank you for sharing this excerpt with your readers today, Catherine! I hope they enjoy it!
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My pleasure, Virginia. I’m sure they will.