Review: Caledon by Virginia Crow

I'm thrilled to welcome historical fiction & fantasy author, Virginia Crow, to Ruins & Reading! Today, I'm sharing my review of her latest novel, Caledon, an adventure with supernatural elements set in the aftermath of the battle of Culloden. 

Caledon is currently on blog tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club. Make sure to check out all the other fabulous tour stops here.


Caledon, Book #1

Virginia Crow

When I had the opportunity to review a novel set right after the tragic battle at Drumossie Moor, near Culloden, Scotland, I jumped at the chance. I find the era of the Jacobite rebellions fascinating, not only for their cause, but also for the personal squabbles that led to the collapse of the ’45 rebellion. The Catholic Highland Clans were persecuted, with many incarcerated, hanged, or – if they were lucky – fleeing.

As was young James Og, who escaped slightly injured from the messy carnage of Drumossie Moor. He flees to what he considers the safety of his cousin Donnie’s family home in the north, but just after his arrival there, the Redcoats show up, and they all have to flee.

Amongst the group is Jamie's intended, Donnie's sister, Mary. But when her father is killed during their flight, she blames Jamie, and her descent into darkness begins there.

Jamie, meanwhile, falls into a ravine during his run, escaping his captors. He arrives near a waterfall – that seems to talk to him, calling him Jamie Caledon. 

So young Jamie Caledon is given a huge task – he has to gather the members of Clan Caledon and free Scotland from the oppression. Donnie is one of them, representing Strength, not surprising giving his size and power. As is Mary, but she wants nothing to do with it. Instead, in her anger, she makes a decision that impacts not only on Jamie, but also on her brother. 

As Jamie gathers new companions to his small, growing clan, he faces challenge after challenge. Will he be able to save the country?

Caledon is in the first instance an historical adventure novel. Set during a turbulent time, with threats awaiting Scots at every corner, it brings together characters who should, by their very conviction, be enemies. Jamie's clan include Jacobites and Hanoverians, men who fought on both sides.

Ms Crow is careful not to take sides, which is unusual, given the enmity that existed back then. I think it's cleverly done, to show that Scots of different convictions can still work together, for the benefit of all Scotland. There's a pacifist message right there, but it's not obvious or in your face.

Jamie is a highly flawed character. Caledon gives him purpose, but he's also plagued by doubts. More than once is he prepared to give up and give in, but then the ancient spirit reminds him of his duty.

Mary is a vengeful girl, full of spite. She doesn't think logically, and blames Jamie for her father's death, to the point of allying herself with the wrong people, creating much of the tension in the novel. She's stubborn and nasty, and I felt like shaking her a few times...

Donnie is the rock in all this. He is brave, but also meek, which contradicts his stature and physical power. For me, he doesn't question enough, but is rather a follower. 

The narrative is in several points of view, and readers who prefer set POVs may find the read confusing at times. Whilst the author ensures to mention each character by name before revealing their thoughts, the head-hopping can grate a little. It took me a while to get used to it, but by then I was too invested in the plot. I was keen to read on.

The plot is riveting, exciting, full of adventure, with good days, and pitfalls. Jamie's quest feels natural (despite being supernatural), as he experiences set-backs among the good bits. And Ms Crow shows well the danger these characters faced day-in and day-out.

I enjoyed reading Caledon, even though fantasy isn't my genre, but it has a gripping plot and a worthy quest. I can recommend it to readers who love stories set in Scotland, especially with a supernatural slant.



"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.

Amazon AU

About the Author:

Virginia Crow

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.

Connect with Virginia:



  1. Thank you so much for hosting me and Caledon on your fantastic blog - and for the fabulous review too!

  2. You're very welcome, Virginia. It's such an intriguing plot. I really enjoyed it.


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