Duncan's War by Douglas Bond
Age recommendations mean nothing to me. I’ve always devoured high-quality children’s literature, and not just with an eye to screening it for my own kids, or for others’. I just enjoy it for its own sake, especially when I find a gem like this.
Duncan M’Kethe is a lad in 17th century Scotland. With his faithful sheepdog, he occasionally pretends to fight the English oppressors, his staff morphing into an imaginary sword.
But his father, Sandy M’Kethe, objects to violence. No matter how evil their English ruler, they aren’t to speak of killing. Jesus is their king, in matters pertaining to the Kirk (church) and their hearts. Charles is the king in matters pertaining to the state, and they should honor him accordingly.
But that’s not how King Charles views it. He sees the Scottish Covenanters as being in rebellion against the crown because they do not accept Anglican worship. Author Douglas Bond vividly portrays the agony of conscience of peace-loving Scottish Christians as they suffer persecution, with no easy way to flee the country. Do they resist? Or simply watch the oppression and outright slaughter of innocents?
Bond uses a fictional family to describe real events. Duncan’s War is the first installment of a trilogy using the same family to follow several decades of time. His writing is strong; I only detected one anachronism in the series. Although it has pictures for younger readers, the content is suitable for teens through adults. In fact, some of the content is a bit mature for a ten year old (the back cover lists the intended age as 10-14). Decapitation, heads on pikes; rather gory in places. So you might want to read it first.
It’s an important but neglected area of church history—and American history. Eventually many Scots, persecuted for religious or political reasons, left for the American colonies, in such numbers that their descendants formed a large percentage of the Revolutionary War army under Washington. But all that is the story of Douglas Bond’s next trilogy, again featuring the M’Kethe family.