Survival of the Blood

Fiction - Literary
420 Pages
Reviewed on 07/10/2020
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Survival of the Blood is a work of fiction written in the literary style by author Beth Bristow. Following themes of history, survival, personal sacrifice, and family duty, this highly engaging and immersive tale is set in Britain during the wars between Scotland and England. Our protagonist is Janet Cameron, who must protect her six-year-old nephew Daniel as the last surviving heir to the Highland Cameron Clan. Trying to return home amid the butchery of war is no easy feat, and so begins an epic journey to safety and towards the continuation of a bloodline and heritage which is under severe threat.

Author Beth Bristow perfectly captures the gritty, blood realism of British history in this beautifully penned and in-depth literary work. One of the things which I really appreciated was the author’s attention to historical detail, not just in the political and military landscape of the setting, or in the descriptions of the hardships of everyday life, but in the realistic attitudes of the characters, which are often at odds with our modern way of thinking. Despite how different Janet Cameron is to the modern woman, there is much to relate to in her inner strength, sense of duty, and family. The novel is well rounded with deep character commitment and emotionally charged scenes that bring us closer to the figures under pressure as we root for their success. Overall, I would highly recommend Survival of the Blood to historical fiction lovers and literary fiction fans everywhere.

Rabia Tanveer

Survival of the Blood by Beth Bristow is the story of Charles Stuart who arrived in Scotland with one goal: rally allies to dethrone King George II and ascend his father James Stuart to the throne. He is ready to do whatever it takes to make it happen. However, his actions have consequences and it seems like the Scots are the ones who will bear most of the brunt. Innocent people have died, including Janet Cameron’s husband. Desperate for even basic necessities and looking for her husband, she must protect her little nephew and get back to the Scottish Highlands where they hope to find the family inheritance. Before they know it, there is a fight between life and death. Survival is the only option and there is hell to pay if you do survive. Is Charles fighting a losing battle or will he live long enough to watch his father become king? Will Janet reach home before they are killed by the tyrant Duke of Cumberland’s men?

I was sad when the story ended and was hoping for more. There are so many questions in my mind that I want answers to and that is the best experience any reader could hope for. The author had a no-holds-barred approach to the story and overall made sure the reader was getting what they were promised. I don’t know much about Scottish history so this was a history lesson as well as entertainment for me. Charles’s character merges well with the story. He fits the role; he fits the position and the reader is in the moment with him. The subplots merge well with the story and add to it. Janet’s story is heartbreaking. Her will to survive and bring Daniel to safety was shown really well. There was a desperation in how her story was told and that reflected well with her situation. The descriptions and the setting were perfect for the story, culturally appropriate, and I can imagine how much research the author did to be this accurate. I highly recommend this story to anyone who enjoys historical fiction or fiction with plenty of action to keep the reader hooked.

Ruffina Oserio

Survival of the Blood by Beth Bristow is a gripping historical tale with a setting in 1746 in Scotland and depicts England’s ruthless rule there. When Charles Stuart invites the Highlanders to support him in dethroning King George II of England so his father, James Stuart, replace him, the weary, hungry Highlanders accept the invitation to go to war in return for freedom and food. Over two thousand die in the Battle of Culloden at the hands of the well-equipped and well-trained English soldiers. The few who survive are captured and taken prisoner. Janet Cameron sets out to search for her husband, Ewan, captured by the British soldiers. Accompanied by Daniel Cameron, her six-year-old nephew, she walks a very dangerous path, barely surviving and nearly getting caught several times, to protect what is rightfully theirs.

Beth Bristow writes a novel that is transporting, featuring the plight of poor people against an oppressive ruler. Janet Cameron is a well-developed character. I couldn’t help but root for her at every turn as she searches for her husband and returns to her home to protect their inheritance. I was curious and wanted to know what happens to her next. The author crafts a setting filled with danger and tension, and brilliantly captures elements of the landscape like the soggy marshlands of Culloden Moor. The plot has strong points, and I enjoyed the fact that young Daniel Cameron is the last of his line, which makes his protection one of Janet's driving motivations. The writing is awesome and the descriptions impeccable. Survival of the Blood is filled with pathos, a story that feels real and beautifully explores themes of freedom, family, oppression, and many more. It is a must-read for fans of well-written historical novels with memorable characters.

Teresa Syms

Survival of the Blood is a spellbinding story of betrayal, manipulation, and the heartbreaking truth of how Charles Edward Stuart, determined to take back the throne of England, uses the Highlanders of Scotland for his own personal agenda. The Cameron clan, like many of the Highlanders, are given orders to support and fight for Charles and the freedom of Scotland. What the clans are unaware of is the deceit of Charles Stuart and those who have turned and now support King George II. The Scottish are sent into the battle of Culloden without weapons and weak from starvation. After the slaughter, Janet Cameron escapes with her nephew, Daniel, as they search for her husband, Ewan. The “Butcher,” the Duke of Cumberland, has given orders to destroy every Highlander, but his fascination with Janet distracts him and also saves her life and Daniel’s. When Janet learns of Ewan’s death, her mission is to return home to collect what is rightfully hers and to protect the Cameron clan from dying out.

Beth Bristow’s Survival of the Blood is a captivating read from beginning to end. Steeped in the truth surrounding Charles Edward Stuart and his attempts to regain the English throne for his father, or himself, leads to the slaughter of many Highland clans. Bristow’s story of good versus evil plays out before, during, and after the battle of Culloden. She tugs at the reader’s heart as she tells the story of love between Janet and Ewan Cameron and how Janet, even after the many losses she suffers, carries on to fulfill her promise to her husband and his family. Bristow’s character and plot development are exceptional. The reader truly is transported into the everyday lives of the clans and how evil and destruction are forced upon them. If not for Janet and her determination to keep Daniel safe, all would be lost and the clans of Scotland would be no more. I applaud Bristow and her work and look forward to reading more from this author.

Jose Cornelio

Survival of the Blood by Beth Bristow is a tale of war, freedom, and one woman’s quest to ensure that her bloodline continues. Charles Stuart succeeds in persuading the Highlanders to join him in the war against King George II, promising them freedom. The Highlanders march to war ill-equipped, weary, and hungry and are terribly beaten by the English army, killing thousands of them. The few people who do not die are taken prisoner. Janet Cameron, whose husband has been captured, goes out in search of him, accompanied by her nephew, Daniel Cameron. With thousands of the King’s soldiers out hunting for Charles Stuart, Janet and her six-year-old nephew are in grave danger. But she must return to her Highland home to find and protect the family inheritance and she must protect her nephew for he alone guarantees the survival of the Cameron bloodline. But danger isn’t far away.

I was pulled in from the beginning and fascinated by the detailed descriptions the author provides. Survival of the Blood starts with action, describing the painful experience of loss when the Highlanders march to war unprepared. This is a strong premise for a tale of oppression, violence, and the quest to stay alive in a world threatened by colonial rule. The characters are sophisticated and richly developed. Janet and Daniel Cameron were my favorite characters and I couldn’t stop following their quest to retrieve their family inheritance and stay safe from King George’s army. This is a skillfully written story. It is intelligently developed and features characters that are very real. Beth Bristow writes characters that readers will care about and a setting that transports them back to Scottish history. This is a work of great entertainment, well-plotted, and balanced.