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    Scotiana’s Books for Christmas: “Darker Ends”

    Christmas funfair in George Square Glasgow - Photo Thomas Nugent

    Christmas funfair in George Square Glasgow – Photo Thomas Nugent

    Dear readers,

    Christmas time is quickly approaching now, so I’d better hurry to add a couple of books to Scotiana’s selection for Christmas. My problem is to choose among so many interesting books published in Scotland recently;-)

    A Drop in the Ocean, which I introduced in my last post, is a book which can certainly please all lovers of Scotland. “Punctuated with hilarious, lively, entertaining and sometimes heart-rending incidents, and set against a backdrop of fabulous seascapes and wildlife, A Drop in the Ocean is a unique portrait of a Hebridean island”.

    When travelling on the western coast of Scotland one can’t be but attracted by all those islands lying, more or less visible, off the shore. Each of them has its story to tell and those who can face the harshness of the elements, will soon feel the magic of the place.

    I always try to find the magic of a place, the magic of a book…

    Alex Nye Chill Shiver & Darker Ends books

    Alex Nye Chill Shiver & Darker Ends books

    And I did find magic in the three books I’ve chosen today.

    These books aim at a teenage audience but though my teenage years are far behind, I immediately fell in love with them.

    The Scots Magazine December 2015

    The Scots Magazine December 2015

     

    I discovered Alex Nye’s books a few days ago, in the ‘Scottish Bookshelf’ pages of  the December issue of  The Scots Magazine in an article entitled  “Inspired by Scotland, Alex Nye weaves a chilling spell from history and her surroundings “. Wow ! Darker Ends is the title of Alex Nye last book. The cover illustration by Kylie Tesdale immediately rang a bell! The picture represents the mountains of Glen Coe in an eerie and surrealistic atmosphere. Ghostly figures compose a strange procession, in the bottom of the glen…

     

    Darker Ends Alex Nye Fledgling Press 2015

    Darker Ends Alex Nye Fledgling Press 2015

    Glen Coe ! This glen, with the river Coe is one of our favourite places in Scotland. One immediately feel there is something special there. When we discovered it we had no idea of the horrible events which had taken place in the area. This sad page of history is at the basis of Darker Ends.

    DARKER ENDS is the third title by Alex Nye, again inspired by the landscape and history of Scotland. This time Glencoe is the background setting, and the ghosts of the recent past mingle with the dark events of 1692, when the leader of Clan Campbell authorized the genocide of a whole community as they slept in their beds before dawn…

    Those who survived – women and children – struggled their way up into the lowering mountains of Glencoe, but what happened to them?Did they live to tell the tale?

    Two children, a brother and sister, wait in a lonely inn for their parents to come home, while a storm closes in. They have only lived at the inn for three days. Maggie, the eldest, seeks to reassure her younger brother, who is asthmatic and nervous. When a stranger’s car is marooned in the river below, and he knocks at their door for shelter, the long night darkens. All is not what it seems, and Maggie and Rory are about to learn what became of the so-called ‘survivors’ of Glencoe.

    Glencoe mountains © 2007 Scotiana

    Mountains of Glen Coe Two Sisters © 2007 Scotiana

    I will read  Darker Ends as soon as I’ve finished Chill and Shiver. I’ve dowloaded them on my kindle and I also bought the paper edition of them to put them in our library. One day, our grandsons will be able to read them in English. They’ve begun to learn the language in their primary school.

    I got quickly immersed in the story of Chill, reading it with the same pleasure I had when, as a young girl, I began a new Nancy Drew mystery story or one of the famous Enyd Blyton “Five series” (Le Club des Cinq in French). I like very much Alex Nye’s storytelling, her way to describe place and atmosphere, to lead the intrigue. It’s a ghost story and it takes place at Christmas time. I love the description of the snow-covered landscape of Sheriffmuir and of the old mansion. No wonder Chill did win the Scottish Children’s Book of the Year Award!

     

    Chill - Alex Nye - Kelpies 2014

    Chill – Alex Nye – Kelpies 2014

    It was so quiet. There was nothing but the sound of the wind in the trees, and the distant murmur of the Wharry Burn, water travelling and rumbling beneath ice. The whole moor was covered with snow, an ocean of unending white, waves of it packed up against the walls of the barn and cottage – the cottage where Samuel now lived.

    The rooms, corridors and staircases of Dunadd House creaked all about him in sht silence. Numerous empty rooms lay behind heavy oak doors (..)

    The grandfather clock ticked noisily in the hall below, a deep sombre note befitting its age, like the heartbeat of the house itself. constant, regular, marking time (..)

    He passed shelves of books, old thumbed paperbacks, family favourite paperbacks, and pushed open the door at the end. Before him lay the drawing room on the first floor, a vast expanse filled with light form the large bay windows on eitheir side. Old pieces of antique furniture stood about in the shadows, gathering dust (..) (Chill – Chapter I “The Weeping Woman”)

    Sheriffmuir is a lonely place situated in the Ochill Hills, not far from Dunblane and Stirling and can only be reached by a minor single-track road in an area of moorland.

    It is steeped in history for there took place the battle of Sheriffmuir, a landmark in the long Jacobite fight which will end on the battleground of Culloden, that fatal day of 16 April 1746.

    The massacre of Glencoe, which took place on 13 February 1692 is another bloody landmark of the Jacobite rebellion.

     

    Chill & Shiver Alex Nye Kelpies 2014

    Chill & Shiver Alex Nye Kelpies 2014

     

    Alex Nye

    Alex Nye

     

    About the Author

    Alex Nye is an award-winning children’s author. She grew up in Norfolk by the sea, but has lived in Scotland since 1995 where she finds much of her inspiration in Scottish history. At the age of 16 she won the W H Smith Young Writers’ Award out of 33,000 entrants, and has been writing ever since. Her first children’s novel, CHILL, won Scottish Children’s Book of the Year Award.

    She likes to spend her time walking the dog, swimming, scribbling in notebooks in strange places, staring at people without meaning to, and tapping away on her laptop. She also teaches and delivers workshops on creative writing/ghost stories/Scottish history. She graduated from King’s College, London more years ago than she cares to admit. (from Amazon)

    In the steps of JK Rowling 😉

    YES ! Scotland IS an inspiring land !

    Enjoy !

    ‘A bientôt’ for more Christmas books !

    Mairiuna

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    2 comments to Scotiana’s Books for Christmas: “Darker Ends”

    • Hello,

      My name is Alex Nye and you wrote a beautiful piece about my books CHILL, SHIVER and DARKER ENDS Christmas 2015/16 after discovering the books in a feature article by The Scots Magazine.

      I just wanted to let you know that I have a new title out – a historical novel for adults this time, called FOR MY SINS. It’s about Mary, Queen of Scots sitting in her prison cell at the end of her life, sewing her tapestries while being haunted by the ghosts of her past. You can read about it on my website. I think you might enjoy it as – again – it celebrates all things Scottish and in particular the link between France and Scotland!

      • Hi Alex,

        Many thanks for your kind comment. I was very happy to discover it on our return from a stay in Pays Basque and very excited about your new book which illustrates a great page of Scottish history. I’m presently busy writing an article about Saddell Abbey which we visited during our last trip in Kintyre but I have downloaded “For My Sins” on my kindle, being very eager to read it. I also bought the paper version of it, as I did for “Chill”, “Shiver” and “Darker End”s. Today, I couldn’t do without my digital library but I still love books very much. Yours are lovely and I always put one on display on my shelves. The covers, as well as the illustrations which ornate the beginning of each chapter of “Chill” and “Shiver”, are very attractive, adding to the mysterious and dark atmosphere of the stories.

        While browsing your website yesterday night I noticed the happy expression of the pupils who had invited you to visit their school and I decided to translate into French the beginning of “Chill” for our grandsons Jean and Ronan (respectively 10 and 8). They are avid readers already and fans of the “Harry Potter series”. Jean, the eldest one, has even introduced “Harry Potter à l’école des sorciers” (“Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”) to his fellow pupils at his primary school in Toulouse. I’m pretty sure they would like very much the thrilling adventures of Samuel, Fiona and her brothers at Dunadd House, the secluded old mansion standing in the heart of the moor and still more isolated by a heavy snowfall. A good place for ghosts!

        I’m sure “For My Sins” will be a very successful historical novel. I do love its beginning which makes us feel so close to the great Scottish (and French) Queen. As soon as I have read it I will introduce your book to our readers on Scotiana.

        Still many thanks for your comment ! I wish you a very nice day and ‘bon courage’ for your writing. Yours friendly.

        Mairiuna and the whole team of Scotiana.

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