Monday, October 27, 2014

The Crown and Covenant Trilogy

(Since we're on the road, and my internet connection is a bit unreliable, I'm posting early! :)

Hello, friends and fellow bibliophiles! By Kyla's special request, I have today a review of the Crown and Covenant trilogy, by Douglas Bond. :)

The Saga 
Duncan's War introduces the M'Kethe family in 17th century Scotland, a family who keeps sheep and gathers with others for illegal Sunday services out on the moors. When their old neighbor is beaten for his outspoken belief that Christ is the head of the kirk, Duncan's father is stirred to action, and he and Duncan along with Duncan's friend Jamie, set off with the rest of the covenanter troops to stand against Sir James Turner at the battle of Rullion Green.

King's Arrow picks up several years later from the perspective of Duncan's younger brother, Angus. Unlike Duncan, Angus is content to keep peace like his father and spend his days practicing with the bow and arrow. He likes herding sheep, reading books, and honing his skills at chess, until an unjust murder by the Covenanters forces innocent people to die for their faith at the Battle of Drumclog--and Angus to learn that it takes a man to kill, and a man to let live.

Rebel's Keep is the final installment of the Crown and Covenant trilogy, and by far the most intense. While Sandy continues to cling to peace, his sons Angus and Duncan march off to face the enemy yet again at the Battle of Bothwell Bridge. And the persecution that has affected their lives, but not yet scarred it, brings them to the ultimate brink of imprisonment and commitment to their faith.

My Thoughts 
Good, clean adventure that has lead to many arguments about the manliness of kilts in our online Bible study, the M'Kethe family adventures are sure to please young people early teens and up.They're full of battles and dogs and army captains and bannocks by the fireside, all wrapped up in deep questions of faith--when is it lawful to resist tyranny, and when is it biblical to flee? Full of Scottish lingo (such as the unforgettable 'daft limmer'), Bond's books are a great introduction for understanding Scottish speak, and easing into George MacDonald's thicker inclusion of it.

Bond has a strong form of patriarchy in his books, and I appreciate that. Sandy M'Kethe thinks through things; he's not hot-headed or hasty; he's strong and manly, yet slow to quarrel, with a rich prayer life and a gentle hand for his wife. Patriarchy, unfortunately, is a dirty word in today's society. Call it what you will, the basic principle is that men are responsible to lead their homes, to provide for them, and to be spiritually accountable to God for the way they lead their families. That does not make the father on the same level as God, nor does it negate the fact that each member of the family will be standing before God all by themselves to give an account of their work. And Sandy is a strong and biblical example of what fatherhood should be.

Their family discussions differ slightly from what I'm used to. When our family sits around the table, everybody asks questions, everybody poses answers. We wrestle with Scripture, we argue over the interpretation of Scripture, and while we're all sound in doctrine, we sometimes don't see eye to eye. Bond doesn't focus on family tension, choosing to develop different themes instead. As an author you can't do justice to too many huge themes at once, and he chose wisely to temper family conflict for the greater lesson of biblical warfare.

Duncan's run to call the troops to battle was my favorite section of Duncan's War. And I loved his puppy, Payton. I loved Angus's friendship with the redcoat soldier in King's Arrow. And I love Rebel's Keep for Duncan and Angus's brother-brother time in the Battle of Bothwell Bridge. Book 1 and 3 were always my favorites.

In our family we haven't had a hard time handling the themes of death, persecution, and physical torture that the books contain from age 13 up, but some families have expressed concerns on that account, so be aware. Thumbscrews, the rack, beheadings, and grisly displays on town gates all come with the tales. There is no language or profanity. The series is so rich with ministers who preach the Word of God, historical figures from the time, and dates and places of the era. I learned more about the Scottish covenanters from these books than I ever learned from social studies.

As we enter a new age of political legislation in America, these books are vital to keep on family bookshelves. We will be persecuted for our faith, and we will have to choose between man and God increasingly in the days to come. Other believers in other countries around the world are already facing this, and children need examples of characters who have faced this in the past and endured in Jesus' name.

Christ is our Lord, the head of the Kirk now and forevermore. The Crown and Covenant series is a stirring reminder of that, and a fantastic way to chase away the autumn doldrums.

Lady Bibliophile

PS. We're down at National Bible Bee this week, and if any of my blog readers are there I'd love to meet up with you! :)


  1. Rebel's Keep is my favorite out of all of them. :) I need to read it again to remember it all, but I think in that one he finished off the first series very well. I skimmed some of the more gruesome sections. :P
    Aw, I love Duncan's puppy. :') He was a brave and mighty hero. He reminds me of the puppy in The Shield Ring by Rosemary Sutcliff.

    1. I love Rebel's Keep, too. It was deeply moving and had some of the most suspense.

      Forgot about the gruesome bits....Yeah. Though I didn't skip them, so it's up to individual discretion. :D

      I forgot the puppy in the Shield Ring!! He should have been in The Best of Literary Animals. :'(

      Glad to have you back on commenting after all your Bible Bee excitement. <3



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