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The Candlemass Road Paperback – February 8, 2011

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Frequently Bought Together

The Candlemass Road + The Steel Bonnets: The Story of the Anglo-Scottish Border Reivers + Quartered Safe Out Here: A Harrowing Tale of World War II
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing (February 8, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 161608099X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616080990
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #937,394 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


'The Candlemass Road' is a simple tale, beautifully told; and very moving withal! It's an afternoon's reading that'll stick in the memory for long afterwards. Hooray for George Macdonald Fraser!' SPECTATOR 'It's George MacDonald Fraser is top form on the Borders, juggling lairds and outlaws in bitter battling over disputed territory.' MAIL ON SUNDAY, 'Books of the Year' 'A bravura performance! fine, taut, sinewy! Meat never came redder.' DAILY TELEGRAPH 'George MacDonald Fraser is such a good storyteller! we get bowled along in the twists and scrapes of the action.' GLASGOW HERALD --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

Having written the definitive history of the Anglo-Scottish "Border Reivers" in The Steel Bonnets, Fraser here gives us a robust fiction based firmly on Border fact. Lady Margaret Dacre leaves behind an aristocratic life in London to take control of lands formerly governed by one of the few good men, lately murdered, who has tried to live in the midst of the Reivers' lawlessness. What possible chance does she have in this "neglected and cursed" region? You'd be surprised, as it turns out... --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

If you like historical fiction then this is a must read.
Electric Eclectic
The characters are fully developed; the action is intense; the interplay between the main characters is electric.
j. ballard
There really is no feeling like that of picking up an as-yet-unread novel by George MacDonald Fraser.
Paul McGrath

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 47 people found the following review helpful By j. ballard on March 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is both a review of The Candlemass Road and a sharp disagreement with the previous reviewer. I have read all of Mr. Fraser's books, (save only Quartered Safe Out Here), and count Mr. Fraser as one of my favorite writers. He is a master storyteller, who grabs readers and pulls them along, with breakneck action alternating with insightful looks into humankind - often in the same sentence. And, of course, Mr. Fraser is funny. The Pyrates may be one of the laugh-out-loud, funniest books ever written.
The Candlemass Road is by far George MacDonald Fraser's most powerful book. In a few short pages, Mr. Fraser sets the premise, the scene and the characters. While loaded with tense action sequences,this is primarily a study of character and of situational ethics. It is a study of a uncertain land in an uncertain time, told through the eyes of an aged, flock-less priest. The story is based on the horrors faced on a daily basis by the inhabitants of the Borderlands between Scotland and England at the end of the sixteenth century - the history of which was ably explored in Mr. Fraser's The Steel Bonnets. (If you enjoyed that book, you'll love this one.)
The protagonist, young Lady Margaret Dacre, must use all of her wit and power to protect her folk from a band of Scots reivers - on the very day she returns to her ancestral seat after seventeen years at Court. Lady Margaret uses the tools available, and learns a valuable lesson about life on the borders, and the "custom of the country".
The previous reviewer felt that the story ended just when it was getting going. I could not disagree more strongly. The book ended because the story ended. One paragraph more would have been too much. The reader does not need to be told what happens next.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Paul McGrath on November 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
There really is no feeling like that of picking up an as-yet-unread novel by George MacDonald Fraser. It is one of delicious certainty: you will be entertained, you will be informed, and you will be charmed. Unfortunately I can only expect to have this experience a couple of more times in my life, as there just isn't that much left of his that I haven't read anymore. Alas, alas, alas.

The locale in this one is the wild English/Scottish borderlands in 1598. Although England was mostly settled and Scotland was mostly settled, the midlands--under the jurisdiction of neither--were not, and bands of thieves and brigands--reivers--roamed about, terrorizing the countryside.

For characters there is Luis Guevara, the teller of the tale and the meek priest of the Dacre estate, located in the middle of these badlands; there is Lord Ralph Dacre, the white-haired, crimson-clad Red Bull, Lord of the Estate, and scourge of the thieves; there is Lady Margaret Dacre, sharp-witted, fire-breathing, and newly come to the estate after the untimely death of her father; and there is finally Archie Noble Waitabout, a broken man, thief, and he who proved to be the Great Lady's protector.

For plot there is the death of the Red Bull, "shot . . . through with calivers, nine balls in his body, and he let die by the roadside." Lady Margaret, bred in courtly London, comes to the estate and on the date of her arrival finds that the thieves are already attempting to reinstitute their filthy blackmail on her timid villagers. Those charged with helping her find excuses not to, for various reasons, but primarily because of their unstated fear of the dreaded Nixon clan. She turns to the imprisoned Waitabout, who in exchange for his life, agrees to go to the village and defend it.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Steven Osburn on April 9, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After reading QUARTERED SAFE OUT HERE, the best personal world war two recollection I have ever read about the British campaign against the Japanese, I was extremely interested in learning more of the history of the people he led, the Borderers. (The Engish charged and the Germans ran. The Germans charged and the English ran. The Kings Own Borderers charged and everybody ran.) I then read STEEL BONNETS, Fraser's history of the people he had led in that war. It was fascinating. I wondered why he didn't write one of his great stories based on what he had researched. Then I found out about CANDLEMASS ROAD. I ordered it and awaited it with great anticipation. When it arrived, I went through it in an afternoon. I have rarely been so disappointed by a favorite author. I want the publisher to slap Fraser on both cheeks and tell him to " march right back into that room and finish the book". What was written is better than anything Fraser has ever written I know, from my reading, that Fraser admires CAPTAIN BLOOD as a great adventure novel. I agree with him. The story he wrote here is as good as anything written by Sabatini and it left me with a feeling of great dismay when it ended before its time. What he sets up here is one of the great hisorical novels.
But it ends up feeling like what could have been an appendage (here's what I think it might have been like) to STEEL BONNETS. If you are a Fraser fan, order it and enjoy. If you are a Border fan, order it and enjoy. If you are an historical novel by a reliable author fan, write to the publisher and demand that the author be required to to tell us the end of the story of Lady Dacre, the Broken man, Wattie and the Bailiff. The use of the English language is some of the best I have ever encountered ( I am an O'Brian fan) and the rendering of the Scottish the most accessible since Farnol.
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