Review of Dìlseachd: A Stolen Crown by Cheyenne van Langevelde

Updated: Apr 26

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Six years ago, the flower of Scotland’s men perished beneath the Danish axe. The feared Northmen swept across the Highlands, killing everything in their path and splitting Scotland in two. The violence was halted by fragile treaties that no one expected to last.

And now, the peace is shattered. The last heir to the Scottish throne is imprisoned—soon to be murdered. The future has never looked so bleak.

But even the darkest nights do not last forever. The Lowlanders, weary of the Danish yoke, seek to reunite and overthrow their adversaries. Yet spies are everywhere and many have forgotten where their true loyalty, or dìlseachd, lies.

Only time will tell whether the Scots are faithful to the true heir as they fight to overthrow the Danes, rescue the princess, and restore her to her rightful crown. But perhaps they are too trusting on oaths from the past.


My review:

What a fascinating, immersive, and beautifully written and descriptive look into a time and place that I rarely read about!

When most people think of Scotland in fiction and Scottish rebellions, they might think of Scottish rebellions against the English, Culloden, or Outlander, which I'm all somewhat familiar with. However, I loved the magical tale that Cheyenne has woven here.

The characters are distinct and show clear growth. Angus, while closed-off to begin with, shows vulnerability near the end. While Fiona is defiant yet fearful and insecure, she shows strength without being a cliche action movie heroine. (Malcolm was one of my favourite characters! Great comic relief)

And the emotions are lyrically written and the story is woven as beautifully as a tapestry or a song. Though the story is set in a time of war, it's not too fast-paced, but I would say you get time to see and experience everything, like a slow-panning nature documentary.

I love Cheyenne's writing and I don't often get to experience such beauty in fiction, especially clean historical fiction, one of my favourite genres. I'd describe this as YA since the MC is 14, but it doesn't feel juvenile or too mature.

I've also read her book, Between Two Worlds, and loved it! That book is set in Ancient Rome when Christianity was just starting to flourish there and it's such an amazing, well-written, moving, descriptive, and historically immersive book, too.

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