By Sword and Storm (Munro Scottish Saga)

Written by Margaret Skea
Review by Marina Oliver

This is the third volume in the Munro series, set in 1598, with many strands featuring the exiled Munros now living in France, and the feuding Montgomeries and Cunninghames in Scotland. When Adam Munro, now a Scots Garde, saves Henri IV from an assassination attempt, the Munro family is invited to Paris, where Kate becomes friendly with Henri’s mistress Gabrielle, and Maggie Munro begins to study medicine. Young Robbie, also in the Scots Gardes, has both financial problems due to a crooked gambler and an impecunious friend, and romantic ones when he meets a young Protestant girl. Protestants are forbidden to practise their religion in Paris. In Scotland Hugh Montgomerie and William Cunninghame clash.

It is always a dilemma in a sequel of how much to explain for new readers about what happened previously, and the relationships between characters, while not boring those who have read the earlier books. As someone not familiar with these, I found the many unexplained references to people or events, throughout the novel, irritating and not always comprehensible, especially as the events in the earlier volumes had importance now. I had the impression it was rather a continuation instead of a separate story. I was grateful for the lists of characters, frequently consulted. The novel is well written, the language poetic at times, and the several strands woven in seamlessly, but I do recommend readers who have not done so to read the earlier volumes before this one.