Review: The Scots of Dalriada by Rowena Kinread

I'm delighted to share my review of The Scots of Dalriada by Rowena Kinread today. Discover the birth of Scotland in a fascinating tale!

It's currently on blog tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club. My thanks to the author for a copy. Make sure to check all the other posts on tour here.

The Scots of Dalriada

Rowena Kinread


Whilst I know quite a bit about medieval Scotland, my knowledge of the earlier centuries is somewhat vague. So it was with great interest that I picked up this novel, and I was not disappointed.

The Scots of Dalriada is the tale of three brothers, and of the migration of the Scoti people from Ireland to western Caledonia. So just how did the Scots arrive in Scotland?

The story begins with Erc, Fergus’ father, in Ireland. When he is married to a ’much older’ woman aged 15, for alliances, his life changes forever. His own father is ambitious, and personal contentment are not on his list of favours. 

Erc's sons are born, but little does he know what fate has in store for them.

As we see the sons grow up, we witness their experiences. Growing up at such a time of profound change turned men into hardened warriors, each keen to carve out their own fate. It's no time for niceties, and as jealousies grow, so grows the violence. 

But it's also a time for opportunities, and as Fergus sets out for a grand adventure, his brother Cartan has other plans. Plans that involve intrigue and murder.

The Scots of Dalriada is a gripping novel that shows a credible ’what if’ scenario. The research is impeccable, and the author's knowledge of the era shines through all through the book. She also doesn't shy away from the machinations of the time, the intrigues, and the coming of age of our young warriors is a brutal path to manhood.

I didn't warm to the narrative, though, which I found a little repetitive and jarring at times. But that didn't spoil my reading experience. The characters are clearly defined, none too likeable, but relatable in an historical sense. The plot is gripping, full of action, and the author's description takes us right back to what we consider the Dark Ages. In one sense, they were indeed dark: the bloody violence of the times, mixed with personal ambition that brought men to turn against their own.

A clever plot, deep characterisation, and detailed description make The Scots of Dalriada a great read. Fans of historical fiction set in Scotland and Ireland in particular will enjoy it.





Fergus, Loarn and Angus, Princes of the Dalriada, are forced into exile by their scheming half-brother and the druidess Birga One-tooth.

Fergus conceals himself as a stable lad on Aran and falls helplessly in love with a Scottish princess, already promised to someone else. Loarn crosses swords against the Picts. Angus designs longboats.

Always on the run the brothers must attempt to outride their adversaries by gaining power themselves. Together they achieve more than they could possibly dream of.

Fergus Mór (The Great) is widely recognised as the first King of Scotland, giving Scotland its name and its language. Rulers of Scotland and England from Kenneth mac Alpín until the present time claim descent from Fergus Mór.

Full of unexpected twists and turns, this is a tale of heart-breaking love amidst treachery, deceit and murder.


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About the Author:

Rowena Kinread

Rowena Kinread grew up in Ripon, Yorkshire with her large family and a horde of pets. Keen on travelling, her first job was with Lufthansa in Germany.

She began writing in the nineties. Her special area of interest is history. After researching her ancestry and finding family roots in Ireland with the Dalriada clan, particularly this era. 

Her debut fiction novel titled “The Missionary” is a historical novel about the dramatic life of St. Patrick. It was published by Pegasus Publishers on Apr.29th, 2021 and has been highly appraised by The Scotsman, The Yorkshire Post and the Irish Times.

Her second novel “The Scots of Dalriada” centres around Fergus Mór, the founder father of Scotland and takes place in 5th century Ireland and Scotland. It is due to be published by Pegasus Publishers on Jan.26th, 2023.

The author lives with her husband in Bodman-Ludwigshafen, Lake Constance, Germany. They have three children and six grandchildren.

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  1. Thank you for this wonderful review.

  2. My pleasure, Rowena. What a fascinating tale!


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