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Hunted and Harried

by R. M. Ballantyne
249 pages, Historical Fiction
Reviewed by Nienna

Excellent book, but a lot of non-graphic violence.

Plot

Hunted and Harried takes place in Scotland in the late seventeenth century during the persecution of the Scottish Church by the English Anglicans. This book follows fictional character Will Wallace, who starts out as a trooper for the English on a mission with several others to capture Andrew Black. Circumstances make Will desert and he finds refuge in the house of the man he had been hunting. Andrew and Will become fast friends as Will becomes a staunch Covenanter and together they fight for their neighbors and Christian faith.

Morality

Everyone on the good side are firm Christians and would die before deserting those principles. The others have no morals but that is shown as exceedingly wrong.

Spiritual Content

The struggle is between the king of England, who claims rulership of Scotland, and the non-papist Christians of Scotland so God is frequently mentioned and many of the characters are Christians, with a clear difference shown between those who serve God in name only and those who truly believe in and worship Him.

Violence

The persecution of the Covenanters was terribly violent and Ballantyne, while not overwhelming the reader with tales of cruelty, does not mince matters. Several characters are beaten and tortured with such things as the thumbscrew and the "boot". Many people are shot, hung, or drowned. A few men are dismembered while still alive. Hundreds of people die in battles or prisons. While there is a lot of death and murdering shown and even more referenced in the book, though he does not tell about them, none of it is described graphically and is more sad than disturbing.

Drug and Alcohol Content

None that I recall but wine may be mentioned.

Sexual Content

A soldier grabs a girl and tries to kiss her but is forcefully stopped by his companion.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

None that I recall.

Conclusion

Though I have read about this time period before, Hunted and Harried taught me a lot and now I understand the whys and wherefores of that struggle. Despite Will Wallace being the main character, the book frequently shows things from the perspective of other characters (many of whom are historical) and it is those who died for their faith who are the heroes of the tale. The Covenanters' faith in God under overwhelming trials is amazing to read about and I highly recommend this book. But because of the violence and some difficulty there may be in reading the Scottish brogue, I suggest caution in giving it to those younger than highschool.

Fun Score: 4
Values Score: 4.5
Written for Age: 13+

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