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Witch Wood by John Buchan
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Witch Wood (1927)

by John Buchan

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A young minister in a rural Scottish community finds that many leaders of the village are involved in a witchcult; with the aid of a group of local eccentrics, he breaks up the witches' meeting. So fr, all is good, but then his beloved wife (who had inspired him to challenge the witches) dies, his oddball friends fail to support him, and the hypocritical witches retain their power. Very depressing ending. I must admit i think Buchan had a valid point that the lovable eccentrics that often form bands of heroes in adventure fiction are unlikely to prove reliable in real life, but overall, i did not enjoy this book. I may say the witches do not seem to ave genuine occult powers, so this is not fantasy. ( )
  antiquary | Sep 22, 2016 |
Synopsis: Witch Wood is a story of seventeenth-century witchcraft in the Wood of Caledon in the Scottish Borders. The parish minister tries in vain to prevent devil worship and protect his protestant congregation. Meanwhile, civil unrest of the Scottish Wars of the Covenant divides the minister's loyalties. Buchan also weaves in a romantic love story.

Review: I bought this book from Treadwells Esoteric Bookstore and was immediately captured by its writing style. It is set in Scotland and, for the most part, deals with a young minister's trials in dealing with the local witches in his village.

The "wars" referred to in the synopsis are those that divided the church and, eventually, led to the almost complete eradication of superstitions and pagan practices that continued under the more lax provisions of the Catholic (papist) and other churches.

Aside from all this, the story is engaging and Mr Buchan has a very distinctive and somewhat old-fashioned writing style. The reader will notice that all the characters speak with a heavy Scots accent - a dictionary of slang may come in handy.

I loved it as a work of fiction and will be keeping my copy to read on dark, windy and wintry nights (oooh, spooky). ( )
2 vote Sile | May 4, 2007 |
Witch Wood is a story of seventeenth-century witchcraft in the Wood of Caledon in the Scottish Borders. The parish minister tries in vain to prevent devil worship and protect his protestant congregation. Meanwhile, civil unrest of the Scottish Wars of the Covenant divides the minister's loyalties. Buchan also weaves in a romantic love story.

John Buchan, Baron Tweedsmuir, was a Scottish diplomat, barrister, journalist, historian, poet and novelist. He wrote adventure novels, short-story collections and biographies. His passion for the Scottish countryside is reflected in much of his writing. Buchan's adventure stories are high in romance and are peopled by a large cast of characters. Richard Hannay, Dickson McCunn and Sir Edward Leithen are three that reappear several times. Alfred Hitchcock adapted his most famous book The Thirty-Nine Steps for the cinema.
1 vote | antimuzak | Jun 4, 2006 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Buchanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Massie, AlanIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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TO WALTER BUCHAN
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Time, my grandfather used to say, stood still in that glen of his. But the truth of the saying did not survive his death, and the first daisies had scarcely withered on his grave before a new world was knocking at the gate.
Quotations
The Kirk has made the yett of grace ower wide for sinful men, and all ither yetts ower narrow. It has banned innocence and so made a calling of hypocrisy, for human nature is human nature, and if you tell a man that honest pleasure is a sin in God's sight he finds a way to get the pleasure, and yet keep the name for godliness.
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When black magic is uncovered in the ancient "Witch Wood" as a man of God David must fight it, but his love for the beautiful pagan Katrine puts him at the centre of a deadly spiral.

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