The Winter Isles: Antonia Senior

★★★★

Lyrical and heartfelt, this novel set in 12th-century Scotland feels like a natural successor to King Hereafter. It occupies much the same territory, following the ambitious young lord Somerled as he negotiates the rivalries and alliances of the Western Isles and develops a name for himself as a fearless warrior. Based on a figure who is as tantalising a blend of history and myth as Macbeth himself, it’s a novel that lingers on the feel of the wild land and the yawning breadth of the playful, fearsome, lovely sea, despite the occasional savagery of its battle scenes. With characters you truly grow to care about, and with a wonderful star-crossed love story at its heart, it’s a rewarding read.

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