Guns of the Lion
(P&R, 2008), pb., 260 pp.
Readers of this blog will know that the Van Nestes are big fans of Doug Bond. When he visited last month than and began reading to us this latest book on the M’Kethe family, it was a treat. This is book two in the Faith & Freedom Trilogy, which is the continuation of the Crown & Covenant Trilogy.
We loved this book! The story here shifts back to Scotland to pick up what has transpired in the portion of the M’Kethe family which remained there. The bulk of the book is in the form a lengthy letter from Gavin in Scotland which is being read by Ian, the main character of the previous volume, in New England. As always, the story is tied into key historical events of the times. In this case the issue is the attempt of Bonnie Prince Charlie to regain the British throne. Gavin is conscripted into the English army where he finds himself engaged in the naval battle where England sought to stop Charles journey to Scotland as well as in the various battles between the English Redcoats and the Charles’ Scottish Highlanders. This culminates in the fateful Battle of Culloden.
Bond’s characteristic action and compelling story telling are here again. We found ourselves not wanting to stop each night and hurrying to get back to reading the next evening. The new aspect in this story is the reality of ambiguous situations where it is unclear what path is the right path. Gavin struggles with competing claims to his loyalty, stuck between two kings neither of which is particularly inspiring or righteous. This rings true to the historical situation as well as to many situations that arise in our own lives.
Speaking of historical situation, the timeline at the back of the book is a wonderful aid in putting together events that were happening in America and events in Britain. We often fail to see how events in different areas overlap and inform.
The psalms also play a major part once again. This time it is particularly Psalm 100 in the metrical version by William Kethe (“All People that on Earth Do Dwell”). As Gavin sings and reflects on this Psalm, much profitable theological reflection emerges. I was deeply nourished by this Psalm as we read this book and found that Psalm 100 got into my soul! As a result we have begun singing Psalm 100 as a family. This book helped give us context for this Psalm.
We heartily commend this book to you and your family. It is a fun read and beneficial. I have also begun recommending this book and the related series to young men in college as good examples of growing into manhood.