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The Spider and the Stone: A Novel of Scotland’s Black Douglas

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  363 ratings  ·  92 reviews
As the 14th century dawns, Scotland's survival hangs on an outlaw king on the run.

James Douglas burns to avenge his father's murder. Isabelle MacDuff prays to escape a fate worse than death. And while their fellow Scots scrap over the empty throne, the brutal Edward Longshanks of England invades the weakened northern kingdom.

Yet one young warrior--who will become feared
Paperback, 432 pages
Published 2014 by Brigid's Fire Press
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Average rating 4.05  · 
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Dec 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourite-books
This is an excellent novel set in the 14th century with the ruthless King Edward Longshanks sitting on the English throne. Edward, together with his corrupted cronies is determined to squash the uprising in Scotland and capture Robert the Bruce and his supporter The Black Douglas. The author has done a tremendous job of portraying this time period and bringing it alive for the readers with characters described in such depth and detail you could certainly feel their despair and
Whispering Stories
Aug 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Book Reviewed on

‘The Spider and the Stone’ is an historical novel by Californian-based writer, Glen Craney. We see events unfold in the third person, mainly from the viewpoints of James Douglas and Belle MacDuff.

The author manages to convey a strong sense of rivalry and intrigue between the waring Scottish clans, vying for the crown and it’s against this backdrop that James and Belle meet. However, there is no denying that the Scots have a common enemy in the form of
Paul Bennett
Apr 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A tantalizing look at the life of James Douglas, or The Black Douglas as he was called by those who feared him. My only real venture into this part of history was Braveheart, but that centers on William Wallace, not the man who rose to become the right hand of Robert the Bruce in the long standing war with Edward Longshanks and his son Edward Caernarvon. I was drawn into this epic tale right from the start; the intensity of the narrative grabbed and never let go. The characters are beautifully ...more
If you have EVER been drawn to the history of brave men who shaped the world for generations to come, if you have ever wanted to feel what it may have been like to live in an era where battles were personal, where men braved the enemy’s onslaught on the battlefield or in the private chambers of both men of the cloth and kings, this is your read. From the horrors of war to the horrors humanity is capable of inflicting and enduring, to the loyalties of clans, the power of fighting for freedom and ...more
Sep 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

I have only recently become interested in Scottish history after being hooked on the Outlander series. Braveheart is actually one of my favorite movies so when I read the summary, a few names struck a cord with me so I jumped at the chance to read this book. Almost immediately you can tell that the author researched the time period and subjects very well. I was easily transported to 14th century Scotland and felt
Mercedes Rochelle
Aug 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Medieval Scotland can have that haunting, mystical quality about it that calls to our deeper selves. In the days when Christianity just had a foothold on the borders and the word of a chieftain was more important than a distant king, Scotland was clawing its difficult way out of its pagan past. The ancient sect of Culdees, much removed from the medieval Pope, still practiced their secret knowledge at the time when the Bruce and Comyn clans were vying for the crown. Far away Edward Plantagenet ...more
Elspeth G. Perkin
Sons of Scotland, take me away!

Some ladies desire scented flimsy bubbles when they wish to escape or relax at stressful times but for me, just give me roaring men with Claymores and Lochaber axes battling on the fog draped Highlands of Scotland. I could never say no if offered that and if you can afford it, give me: thunders of war, battles of allegiances, history come alive, moments when I can hear powerful and emotional notes of tradition and finally if you can- give me romance worthy of
Jul 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I needed to read up on Electric Scotland so that I understood the Culdees, the Stone of Scone and other aspects of this important era and this book gave me a leg up on that. Everything I needed to know about the Black Douglas and did not know who to ask, and then some I learned or looked up while reading. What was Scotland like in Jamie Douglas's childhood ? How about Isabel McDuff and what was that story all about? Most importantly was the divisions between the Scottish clans at this time and ...more
Craney brings Black Douglas to life in The Spider and the Stone. Brutal and epic in scope, this novel gives new insights into the personalities of the Scottish War for Independence. Douglas is a sympathetic character, a principled and aggressive man who must work to keep his wavering would-be king on the throne. Yet, must he sacrifice his love for Isabel to do so? It's a compelling read, one which will stick with you for a long time. Highly recommended.
Apr 10, 2015 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bettie by: Wanda

Opening: NORFOLK, ENGLAND, FEBRUARY 1358: Lashed by a morning sleet storm, William Douglas paced behind the frozen earthworks that guarded Castle Rising, an old royal mint so grim and neglected that it made London Tower seem hospitable.

Thanks Wanda, lovely of you!
Jul 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Edward Longshanks, the king of England, has invaded Scotland. Scottish subjects had suffered severely from the English tyranny. With the death of William Wallace, also known as Braveheart, many had lost hope of Scotland ever being free. However, two people, James Douglas and Isabella MacDuff, fight to defy the English, and to place their own king, Robert the Bruce, on the Scottish throne. This inspires the Scottish people to take up arms against the English, and to fight for their independence.

Lara (Bookishsolace)
Thank you to the author for providing me with an ebook copy. This has in no way affected my review.

Since I was a little child, I had a deep fascination with Scotland and the Celts. So you can probably guess that I am happy to read everything about said topic. And I was very thrilled to be offered to read a book about 14th century Scotland and Black Douglas. And the author has done a superb job with this novel; it is for most parts historically accurate with a bit of embellishment to make it an
Sep 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best historical fiction novels I have read in a long time. The characters are so real that I found myself getting angry with them, crying with them and loving or disliking them. At first I was worried when I saw the long list of characters at the beginning - a little daunting BUT Glen Craney did a remarkable job of creating all the characters that I didn't get lost as to who was who. We all have been there - when there are so many characters that we get lost. That is ...more
Jeffrey Rasley
Apr 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I've been a fan of Craney's since reading the first edition of The Firer and the Light about ten years ago, and I've looked forward to each of his books since then. "Spider & Stone" is his best work yet, but I suspect there is more to come given his mastery of the historical fiction genre.

Craney sets the book in one of the most interesting periods of English - Scottish conflict, the end of the Fourteenth Ccentury. Edward Longshanks of England (who has become one of historical fiction's
Sep 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
One of the issues I usually have with historical fiction is that often the scenarios and backdrops described in a story don't quite have the historical accuracy and detail that they really need in order to effectively blend in the fictional aspect. This book does not have this problem in any way. Craney's extensive research and attention to detail comes through during the entire book. His vivid descriptions of the passion of the Scottish people were emotional and powerful. The battle scenes are ...more
Kirstie Ellen
Jul 27, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Look, I'm just going to have to give up on this book for now. While I'm not not enjoying this - the book is over 1,000 pages on my e-reader and I'm finding it too hard to keep track of. I've been uninspired to pick it up for over a year so I'm calling it quits. Maybe I'll give it a go in the future again, but for now, I'm admitting defeat and putting this aside.
gj indieBRAG
Nov 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
We are proud to announce that THE SPIDER AND THE STONE by Glen Craney is a B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree. This tells a reader that this book is well worth their time and money!
Elizabeth Lloyd
Aug 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have always been intrigued by the story of Robert the Bruce and yet he seemed a shadowy figure, but the Black Douglas, or James Douglas the Good, as the Scots called him, is an even more mysterious character. In this saga, Glen Craney interweaves, known facts with imagination and mysticism to play out the tortuous life of love and devotion of James Douglas. Ever loyal to his friend and later King, Robert, he suspends his own happiness for the sake of Scotland. In Isabelle Macduff he has found ...more
Susan Merritt
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent book that fleshes out real history of the beginnings of the War of Roses and Scotland's emergence as a power in her own right. It is a very thorough "study" of this period from the standpoints of power in Scotland, England, France and the turbulence of the time. This is a complex read, but so well written that you alternatively can't put it down and don't want it to end. It deals with the Lairds of the Scot clans and the internecine warring among them. The great English King Edward ...more
David Baird
Jul 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First off I must say Robert Bruce has to be one of my favourite historical figures. I’ve not read much on the subject of the Scottish Wars of Independence but the little I know has always fascinated me.

This book focuses on James Douglas otherwise known as Black Douglas. I won’t lie.. I knew nothing of the man. Everything I’ve read always focuses on either Robert Bruce or William
Wallace (who also makes an appearance in this book) so it was great to read a story focused on someone else

Glen has
Reader's Hollow
Nov 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I don't think I've met a single person who hadn't seen the movie Braveheart. At the end of the film it mentions how Scotland came back and retook their land after Wallace's death. Ever wondered how they did that?

The main character of this historical tale is James Douglas, otherwise known as the Black Douglas. He has more than enough reasons to hate the English - or rather, King Edward Longshanks.

I will note that this is not an academic historical and is written as fiction. Fiction with far less
Aug 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed-books
Set during the time of Scotland’s struggles with England and its iron-fisted ruler, Edward Longshanks, Craney’s novel is a saga that spans the English Channel, and goes from the chill tower strongholds of Scotland to the grand courts of Edward I and King Philip IV of France. He gleefully leads readers into a believable medieval world where a king’s displeasure can get a room full of women palpably terrified for their lives (and the reader with them) as Longshanks – as diabolical a villain as any ...more
Apr 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
An interesting, well written tale of Scotland's early 14th century struggles. Mr. Craney did an excellent job of developing the character of James Douglas from a boy hood perspective. Pun intended, the story did seem to bog down in the peat of Scotland after the battle of Bannockburn. For me it was not unlike sitting in movie theater looking at my watch wondering if the movie would ever end. Eventually, the novel ended on an emotional note. Do read the author's notes at the end of the book.
Dec 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
I love historical fiction and this was a very good book with a story of suspense, loyalty, betrayal, and love. The book recreates the 14th century period of Scotland and England. The historical part of the story was very good (I googled it all to learn more things). I found the language a little bit difficult in some parts but still I think readers of historical fiction of this period will enjoy it as much as I did.
Jan 02, 2016 added it
I was truly surprised at how good this book was. I was expecting summer reading, but the history is absolutely intriguing to my Scottish heritage.
Steph Warren
Sep 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
*I received a free ARC of this book with thanks to the author. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*

The Spider and the Stone is an epic and immersive fictional account of the Wars of Scottish Independence in the late 13th and early 14th centuries.

Following, and heroising, the exploits and trials of James ‘Black’ Douglas and Robert Bruce (of spider fame) as they try to free Scotland of the English reign of Edward I ‘Longshanks’ Plantagenet and his cruel henchman.

The narrative is
WordsAPlenty audiobookreviewer
WordsAPlenty was given a copy of this book by the author with a request for an honest review.

The Spider and The Stone by Glen Craney is an amazing historical novel based in the 14th century between two countries – England and Scotland. In this tale we learn of Black Douglas (aka Jaime Douglas) and his tie with the future king of Scotland, Robert Bruce, as well as their valiant fight to free Scotland from the tyranny of England and its rulers. Mesmerizing is the carefully woven betrayals and
Jan 05, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: e-book
Outlander and Braveheart fans, this is your next read. Those of you who were able to keep all of the characters straight in Outlander will have no issue in this storyline. Albeit there are a lot of characters, the author graciously listed them out to help with following the lines of connection and give insight before jumping into this in depth historical novel.

This novel is written from the view point of James Douglas, also more known as Black Douglas and his love interest Belle MacDuff. The two
Dina Rae
Sep 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Spider and the Stone is a quasi-fictional/historical account of Robert de Bruce's reign. The book begins around early 1300 A.D. in Scotland. William Wallace (think Mel Gibson/Braveheart) has died a most horrific hanging/disembowelment, leaving Scotland wide open for a new ruler. The Scottish clans are feuding among themselves while England (King Edward/Longshanks) is vying for control. The hero of this true tale is Black Douglas, or Jamie Douglas, who sides with Robert the Bruce to gain ...more
Stephanie Jane (Literary Flits)
See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary Flits

The Spider And The Stone covers most of James Douglas' life and provides an interesting narrative of this period of Scottish history. It mainly focuses on Douglas himself, Robert Bruce and Isabelle MacDuff, but also introduces many other famous characters such as William Wallace and the trio of English Plantagenet Kings named Edward. The supporting cast is so numerous that I often found it difficult to keep track of who everyone was,
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Read Scotland 2014: Scots Historical Fiction 3 14 Sep 24, 2014 07:54PM  

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A native Hoosier, GLEN CRANEY is a novelist, screenwriter, journalist, and lawyer. He caught the history bug as a boy while tracing the steps of his ancestors on Civil War battlefields and the reconstructed forts of the first Kentucky pioneers.

His travels around the world have found him playing baseball in Cuba, walking the biblical sites of Israel, exploring the Secret Vatican Archives in Rome,