Sword of the White Rose

Written by J. Ardian Lee
Review by Tracey Callison

This is the fourth and final volume of the historical fantasy series that began with the novel Son of the Sword (2001) and continued in Outlaw Sword (2002) and Sword of King James (2003). The author returns to the highlands of Scotland in the year 1745, just prior to the final Jacobite uprising. Dylan Matheson, Laird of Ciorram and time traveler, dies of old age, leaving the welfare of his lands and people in the hands of his son Ciaran – as well as the guidance and help of the faerie Sinann. Only she knows the dreadful truth, that the uprising will fail. Her pleas to pursue the course of peace that his father had chosen fall on deaf ears, as Ciaran is eager to join the fight against the English despite his unexpected love for the daughter of the local British Commander.

The shift of perspective from a traveler out of time to a man born and raised in the historical milieu allows the author to showcase her increasingly deft and rich characterization. Once again, the wealth of historical detail and color flesh out the story. From the glens and battlements of Ciorram to the bloody battlefield of Culloden, the story is always firmly fixed within the time and place it inhabits while remaining completely accessible to the modern reader. A satisfying conclusion to an enjoyable series.