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Castle Dangerous by Sir Walter Scott, Fiction, Historical, Literary, Classics

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From Scott's introduction: "The incidents on which the ensuing Novel mainly turns, are derived from the ancient Metrical Chronicle of 'The Brace, ' by Archdeacon Barbour, and from the 'History of the Houses of Douglas and Angus, ' by David Hume of Godscroft; and are sustained by the immemorial tradition of the western parts of Scotland. They are so much in consonance with From Scott's introduction: "The incidents on which the ensuing Novel mainly turns, are derived from the ancient Metrical Chronicle of 'The Brace, ' by Archdeacon Barbour, and from the 'History of the Houses of Douglas and Angus, ' by David Hume of Godscroft; and are sustained by the immemorial tradition of the western parts of Scotland. They are so much in consonance with the spirit and manners of the troubled age to which they are referred, that I can see no reason for doubting their being founded in fact; the names, indeed, of numberless localities in the vicinity of Douglas Castle, appear to attest, beyond suspicion, many even of the smallest circumstances embraced in the story of Godscroft."


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From Scott's introduction: "The incidents on which the ensuing Novel mainly turns, are derived from the ancient Metrical Chronicle of 'The Brace, ' by Archdeacon Barbour, and from the 'History of the Houses of Douglas and Angus, ' by David Hume of Godscroft; and are sustained by the immemorial tradition of the western parts of Scotland. They are so much in consonance with From Scott's introduction: "The incidents on which the ensuing Novel mainly turns, are derived from the ancient Metrical Chronicle of 'The Brace, ' by Archdeacon Barbour, and from the 'History of the Houses of Douglas and Angus, ' by David Hume of Godscroft; and are sustained by the immemorial tradition of the western parts of Scotland. They are so much in consonance with the spirit and manners of the troubled age to which they are referred, that I can see no reason for doubting their being founded in fact; the names, indeed, of numberless localities in the vicinity of Douglas Castle, appear to attest, beyond suspicion, many even of the smallest circumstances embraced in the story of Godscroft."

30 review for Castle Dangerous by Sir Walter Scott, Fiction, Historical, Literary, Classics

  1. 4 out of 5

    John

    This is the last novel Sir Walter Scott wrote. It is set in 1306 shortly after Wallace was executed Robert the Brice is fighting Edward the 1st and Castle Douglas is a strategic asset. During the Wars of Scottish Independence, the castle was captured by the English several times and retaken by Sir James "The Good" Douglas. Sir John de Walton governs the castle and garrison with his second in command Sir Aymer de Valence. Lady Augusta de Berkely has promised her hand and fortune to Sir John de Wa This is the last novel Sir Walter Scott wrote. It is set in 1306 shortly after Wallace was executed Robert the Brice is fighting Edward the 1st and Castle Douglas is a strategic asset. During the Wars of Scottish Independence, the castle was captured by the English several times and retaken by Sir James "The Good" Douglas. Sir John de Walton governs the castle and garrison with his second in command Sir Aymer de Valence. Lady Augusta de Berkely has promised her hand and fortune to Sir John de Walton, on condition that he holds the castle for a year and a day. Here’s where it’s a bit disjointed she disguised as a boy with her minstrel Bertram secretly travel to the castle. For apparently the sole purpose to shorten the period of the promise and to see her fiancée who she has never seen. She ends up in a convent, escapes, taken by Douglas and in between the minstrel is taken to Castle Douglas and interrogated by Sir John for what purpose he is there. All a bit confusing. A possible ghost knight, threats of torture and a very long sword battle with the chivalry knight code playing a key role. Still an interesting story and although based on a true story the ending substantially differs.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Steve R

    First paragraph: cursory summary; second, critical judgment. A kind of weird Waverly novel, set at the time of Robert Bruce and his battle for Scottish independence from the England of Edward I (Edward Longshanks). Ostensibly a love story, it tells the tale of Lady Augusta, a fair maiden who has pledged to marry any English knight who can keep and hold the landmark of the title for a year. She has in mind John de Walton, a knight who is in possession of the castle at the beginning of the story, a First paragraph: cursory summary; second, critical judgment. A kind of weird Waverly novel, set at the time of Robert Bruce and his battle for Scottish independence from the England of Edward I (Edward Longshanks). Ostensibly a love story, it tells the tale of Lady Augusta, a fair maiden who has pledged to marry any English knight who can keep and hold the landmark of the title for a year. She has in mind John de Walton, a knight who is in possession of the castle at the beginning of the story, assisted by his lieutenant, the newly knighted Aymer de Valance. The latter allows a traveling minstrel to stay at the castle, thus occasioning a serious rift between the two English knights. Meanwhile, the minstrel's 'son', Augustine, is boarded at a nearby monastery, where English monks and nuns reside. In reality, Augustine is Augusta, come to see if de Walton is making good on his pledge. Sir James Douglas, who feels the castle, which once was held by his father, is in fact his, is a supporter of Bruce. Eventually, it comes down to a climatic sword fight between Douglas and de Walton, which is inconclusive. Word arrives that Bruce's forces defeated those of the Earl of Pembroke at the Battle of Loudon Hill, thus implying that the looked for support from English reinforcements upon which de Walton had counted would not be coming. In fact, Pembroke orders de Walton to surrender the castle to Douglas. At this point, the latter passes the hand of Augusta to his recent foe, and despite his not having held the castle, the lovers are united. Only about 300pp. in length, and only having about 20 pp. of the actual sword fight, the novel is more one of temperament than of action, particularly in the long drawn out hostility over nothing, (at least as far as it seemed to me) engaged in for more than half the novel by Valance and Walton. A nice subplot of a disfigured nun who had not yet taken her final vows, her tragic story love lost and eventual re-uniting with her long-lost lover can't really save one from wondering what Scott thought he was trying to do with this novel. A focusing on the ideal attributes of character of the good knight might be a possible lietmotif, but even this is relatively undeveloped with the rather peremptory actions of its principal characters. Definitely a three-starrer

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mrs. C.

    *Castle Dangerous* was the last novel Sir Walter Scott wrote. It was published in 1831 when Scott was age 60. Set in the first decade of the fourteenth century, the story is set against the background of the Scottish Wars of Independence in the years following the death of England's King Edward I, known as the "Hammer of the Scots." Edward had taken Douglas Castle, the seat of the clan Douglas, and had established an English garrison there. The fictional governor of the castle is the Englishman *Castle Dangerous* was the last novel Sir Walter Scott wrote. It was published in 1831 when Scott was age 60. Set in the first decade of the fourteenth century, the story is set against the background of the Scottish Wars of Independence in the years following the death of England's King Edward I, known as the "Hammer of the Scots." Edward had taken Douglas Castle, the seat of the clan Douglas, and had established an English garrison there. The fictional governor of the castle is the Englishman Sir John de Walton, and the plot revolves around the promise of Lady Augusta of Berkely to marry the man who could hold the castle for England for a year and a day. Realizing the dangers surrounding Sir John, Augusta disguises herself as the son of a wandering minstrel and sets out to examine the situation, but traveling incognito in such times and circumstances, she and the minstrel both fall under suspicion as being spies. Scott has tried in this novel to have no real villain, showing both the English and the Scots as heroic people acting in their own national interests but bearing no personal venom toward the enemy. The tension in the play, therefore, results from suspicions and misunderstandings between the various characters. In some respects, the story bears similarities to Shakespeare's plays of disguise, but it lacks the complexities of most of Scott's novels. As a "swan song," however, it offers a pleasant reading experience.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Perry Whitford

    Douglas Castle had long been the home of an ancient Scottish family of that same name. During the insurgency of Robert the Bruce the English sacked it, toom it, and turned it into a vital outpost in the Lowlands, albeit one they struggled to keep hold of. The evicted proprietor, Sir James Douglas, had sworn allegiance to Bruce and become an outlaw on his former grounds, hiding in the thick forests and launching successful raids. The latest English knight to attempt to defend the castle is Sir Joh Douglas Castle had long been the home of an ancient Scottish family of that same name. During the insurgency of Robert the Bruce the English sacked it, toom it, and turned it into a vital outpost in the Lowlands, albeit one they struggled to keep hold of. The evicted proprietor, Sir James Douglas, had sworn allegiance to Bruce and become an outlaw on his former grounds, hiding in the thick forests and launching successful raids. The latest English knight to attempt to defend the castle is Sir John de Walton. Surrounded by rebellious locals on all sides, the defenders of Castle Douglas unnecessarily quarrel amongst themselves, as de Walton and his principle knight, Sir Aymer de Valence, contrive an enmity towards each other from little cause: 'The mother of mischief, says a Scottish proverb, is no bigger than a midge's wing.' Headed for the castle are a traveling minstrel and an English lady disguised as a sick boy. They clearly have an interest in the fortunes of Castle Douglas, but when questioned their answers are cryptic and unconvincing. A short and final edition to the Waverley novels of Walter Scott, Castle Dangerous features many of the best elements of the series - the historical backdrop, characters in disguise, chapters headed by appropriate verse quotations - but it lacks for some too. The colourful Scotch vernacular which enlivened the speech of many of the low born characters in the previous books is entirely lacking here, despite some suitable support players. The plot also hinges on pretty weak material. But its brevity and an excellent climax on Palm Sunday just about save the day, with Scott, conscious of his advanced years and ailing health, addressing the reader directly at the end to officially sign off as an author.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Robert burke

    Set in 1306 the Castle is actually Castle Douglas. Sir John de Walton has agreed to defend this castle of one year against Robert the Bruce and Sir James Douglas, known as the Black Douglas. Romance,intrigue, adventure and Scott's brand of characters round out this novel to a satisfying ending. This was Sir Walter Scott last novel.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Damien Black

    This is far from Scott's best work, but given he was dying when he wrote it I'll let him off. However, I'd strongly recommend checking out The Talisman, Ivanhoe and Rob Roy before investigating this novella, which lacks flavour and narrative punch.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Braxwall

    Någonstans mellan Ivanhoe och Rob Roy. Wallace är ute ur leken men den skottska frihetskampen fortsätter. Riddarna är moraliskt ädla och näst intill skrattretande höviska men sådan är ju romantiken. 3/5

  8. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    Pretty gopd I didn't like this as well as some of Scott's other novels, but it was still a grand adventure as are most of Scott's works. I was annoyed at the heroine for much of the book, so that influenced my enjoyment of it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lucy

    What do I do now? I've read all Scott's novels. Mostly chronologically, which means I am more generous towards this one, knowing it was his last and being so familiar with what went before. As so often with his historical novels set a long way back, the characters talk in a high-flown cod-medieval style, from the lowliest archer to the highest Scottish laird, but when you've read enough Scott that doesn't matter any more. It's not got a lot of plot, but I liked what there was, and unlike other r What do I do now? I've read all Scott's novels. Mostly chronologically, which means I am more generous towards this one, knowing it was his last and being so familiar with what went before. As so often with his historical novels set a long way back, the characters talk in a high-flown cod-medieval style, from the lowliest archer to the highest Scottish laird, but when you've read enough Scott that doesn't matter any more. It's not got a lot of plot, but I liked what there was, and unlike other reviewers I thought there was more characterisation than say in Quentin Durward. And the final paragraph, where he says he is going abroad to regain his health, is so poignant in hindsight - a sort of reverse of the ending of Pepys' diaries. But if you are a Scott neophyte, don't start here. I'd recommend 'Heart of Midlothian' to begin with.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    I was disappointed by this one. There were some really good descriptions, but no real characterization, and not much happens. The people all pretty much talked the same in their long speeches. Mostly there were just a lot of words, some of them very good, but not much in the way of story or characters.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Pippa

    I devoured all Scott's novels as a teenager, but later, after getting 'an education' I had a much more ambivalent reaction to them. Part of me said that this one was very bad, but it is a beautiful piece of romantic escapism. (Not as good as Kenilworth though.)

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Little

    Even though based on an event in Scottish history, this was actually readable since the dialect was kept to a minimum...and oh, yeah, there was a plot in there, too.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nina

  14. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Murch

  15. 5 out of 5

    Gina Piccinelli

  16. 5 out of 5

    Irène Wadowski uliasz

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jared Detter

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rafael

  19. 4 out of 5

    Shawn Cordner

  20. 5 out of 5

    Roderick Mackin

  21. 4 out of 5

    Gary Howes

  22. 4 out of 5

    Dennis Hart

  23. 4 out of 5

    Penelope

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jack Sakalauskas

  25. 4 out of 5

    Saskia

  26. 4 out of 5

    Monty Milne

  27. 4 out of 5

    Denise Boal

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sas

  29. 5 out of 5

    Loren

  30. 4 out of 5

    John Ervin

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