Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Celtic Blood by James John Loftus


Celtic Blood by James John Loftus
Self published on the 15th October 2013.

How I got this book:
Took advantage of a free Amazon download promotion

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


Set in 13th century Scotland. The son of the murdered Earl of Ross, is a fugitive when his family, rival claimants for Scotland's crown, are declared traitors. Influenced by MacBeth and the writing of Nigel Tranter it is a tale of high drama and suspense.

This review was first published on my Stephanie Jane blog in February 2015. Celtic Blood was my second book for the Read Scotland 2015 challenge

Celtic Blood is billed as a historical novel. It is set vaguely across Scotland and some parts of England although definite identifications of place are rare. The story initially concerns a Scandinavian teenage boy, Seward, who is washed up on Scottish shores following a shipwreck. The focus then shifts to a Scottish boy, Morgund, for whom Seward acts as a kind of Squire.

Primarily a coming of age adventure, the tale revolves around Morgund's attempts to become a true warrior and reclaim his family's noble heritage. There is a lot of posturing about the 'sacred brotherhood' of men who own swords and the need for such soldiers to discover their destinies through fighting each other. The main plotline of the story is entertaining enough though, other than a silly interlude with some Satanic witches. None of the novel's female characters are at all realistic, but the generic 'old crone' at the centre of those scenes is definitely the worst of the lot. 

The overriding problem with Celtic Blood however is that it is a difficult book to read. The language switches from contemporary to Olde Englishe - thank goodness no actual Scots is attempted! - and the random use of commas throughout means that some sentences have no meaning. Odd word orders frequently give the impression of reading the wisdom of Yoda. Loftus' use of sentence fragments could be considered a style decision if they were more consistently and sparingly applied. However, the combined errors of grammar, punctuation and spelling on every single page simply gave me the impression of a first draft that has somehow been published by mistake. The poor writing quality is repeatedly mentioned in other reviews dating back years though so, sadly, it would seem Loftus has not undertaken corrections and is not interested in providing the best experience for his readers. 


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Books by James John Loftus / Historical fiction / Books from Australia

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