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Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite
Bound by Honor (The Clan Donald Saga Book 2) by Regan Walker takes readers back to the rugged and exciting times of medieval Scotland and the seemingly interminable clashes not just amongst the clans, but with the eternal foe, England. When Angus Mor Macdonald met secretly with other Scottish and Irish Lords, they made a pact of honor that would bind them and their generations to come in a pledge of loyalty and support for the right to ascend the throne of Scotland and be crowned King of Scots. That honor, to these men, rightfully belonged to Robert Bruce and his successors. Angus Og Macdonald, the second son of Angus Mor Macdonald, finds himself thrust into the role of Lord of the Isles, following the untimely death of his father and then the murder of his elder brother. He must assume a leadership role in the battle for Scottish independence and Robert Bruce’s kingship against the notoriously cruel and harsh English King Edward 1 (Longshanks). Every warrior needs a strong woman by his side and Angus and Robert will be well served in this regard. For Angus, it is a Ulsterwoman, the beautiful and courageous Aine O’Cahan who steals his heart and his soul. Robert Bruce will marry Elizabeth de Burgh, a Norman heiress, to stand beside him in the quest for a kingdom. From inter-clan rivalry and deception through to the decisive battle of Bannockburn, this tale of courage, friendship, and love spans one of the most important times in Irish and Scottish history.
Bound by Honor is a powerful and solid story that resonates through the ages. Many readers, perhaps intrigued by the Outlander tales of the eighteenth century, will find in this story the genesis of the Scottish and Irish push for freedom from its ever-present overlord, the English. I particularly enjoy historical fiction that takes seminal events from a country’s history and creates a fictional narrative around known, yet often poorly recorded, persons. Author Regan Walker is an absolute master of this genre and I found myself immersed in the battle for freedom and independence that this tale encapsulates. The characters are beautifully drawn and the narrative flows seamlessly from domestic life to the horrors of battle and the struggle for survival in these tough and harsh times of the thirteenth century. This is a meaty tome and it is easy to get entranced to the exclusion of all else. At its core, this is a love story and the relationships between Angus and Aine as well as Robert and Elizabeth were the absolute highlight of the adventure. There is action aplenty for the adrenaline junkie and battles galore but it is the tenderness and sweetness of the relationships and the families that will endure for me. This is a fantastic read, certainly one of this year’s best books, and one I can highly recommend.