Book Review: The Beast on the Broch, by John Fulton #thebeastonthebroch

Publisher:  Pokey Hat (Cranachan Books)

Publication date:  September 2016

Beast on the Broch - My Review

The Beast on the Broch - CoverBrimming with legend and lore this exceptional tale features enigmatic stone carvings, a primitive religious order, a sword with two blades, a wise old woman, imminent invasion and not forgetting, The Beast on the Broch.

Spirited Talorca lives a quiet life catching fish to provide for her one parent family. Her father has died and her mother is often preoccupied. Soon the twelve year olds’ daily mischief is replaced by mayhem that came in on the tide and village life is about to get interesting when a group of ignorant intruders muscle their way in to take advantage of their shores.

Her introduction to the new arrivals doesn’t go well. From the top of the old broch Talorca spies three lads casually helping themselves to her nets and all the bounty in them! As she races to stop them, she slips from the tower only to come face to face something more menacing than the wretched thieves. She doesn’t believe her eyes when she finds herself staring at a long snout, two curly horns and a mouth full of razor sharp teeth, features she recognises from the mythical symbols carved into the ancient clan stone that stands in the centre of their village. And in a flash the creature vanishes, almost like it was never there at all.

While one threat has gone the other remains as it seems these uninvited guests are planning on staying a little while. The villagers try their best to accommodate their ‘superior’ neighbours who can’t speak their language and make no effort to learn it. But the chief’s three sons are so up for making trouble, taunting Talorca and goading her until her patience runs dry. And what on earth is her mother thinking when she invites these people for tea?!

With no one to confide in except a wise old woman, she and Talorca do what they can to make the visitors feel unwelcome. Although Talorca may be used to getting into scrapes things get very serious indeed and she finds that it’s not her fishing nets she will need to defend, but her severe recklessness.

There some wonderfully mysterious encounters with the enigmatic Beast and this one isolated girl. His presence may appear menacing, but it will prove to be an asset providing Talorca can coax him into lend a helping claw or two!

The Beast on the Broch is bursting with adventure, bravery, and a glorious Pictish charm. The very talented John Fulton has captured the vulnerabilities and extremes of living in a remote coastal village in 799AD and how things can go from bad to worse as the tide ebbs and flows. The story carries subtle morals of owning up when you are wrong, and also one regarding change – you don’t have to embrace it just try to adapt, as a time may come when you need to pull together to confront your true enemy.

Rating:  5/5

Huge thanks to the author for getting in touch for a review and to Cranachan Books for kindly organising this intriguing bookish parcel, complete with chocolate broch! …

Beast on the Broch Book Post

Beast on the Broch - Book Summary

(Courtesy of publisher)

A lonely girl.  A wild Beast. An unforgettable friendship.

12 Year Talorca is a Pictish girl living in North-east Scotland in 799 AD.  When Gaelic-speaking Dalriadans arrive in her village, her world is turned upside down.

Her only friend is a mythical Pictish Beast, who has been injured by the Dalriadans. Talorca decides to take a stand against the intruders and hatches a plan to drive them out. But she can only do that with the help of the wild beast on the broch.

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Beast on the Broch - Author Profile

(Courtesy of publisher)

John K Fulton is the son of a lighthouse keeper, and grew up all around the coast of Scotland.  These remote and lonely locations instilled in him a life long love of books and the sea. He studied at the universities of St. Andrews and Dundee, and now lives in Leicester with his partner Sandra.  While Leicester is about as far from the sea as you can get in the UK, their home is stuffed with books, which is the next best thing.

His first book, the WW1 spy thriller The Wreck of the Argyll, won the Great War Dundee Children’s Book Prize.

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