Witch Wood - John Buchan

Synopsis: Witch Wood is a story of seventeenth-century witchcraft in the Wood of Caledon in the Scottish Borders. The parish minister tries in vain to prevent devil worship and protect his protestant congregation. Meanwhile, civil unrest of the Scottish Wars of the Covenant divides the minister's loyalties. Buchan also weaves in a romantic love story.


Review: I bought this book from Treadwells Bookstore and was immediately captured by its writing style. It is set in Scotland and, for the most part, deals with a young minister's trials in dealing with the local witches in his village. The "wars" referred to in the synopsis are those that divided the church and, eventually, led to the almost complete eradication of superstitions and pagan practices that continued under the more lax provisions of the Catholic (papist) and other churches.


Aside from all this, the story is engaging and Mr Buchan has a very distinctive and somewhat old-fashioned writing style. The reader will notice that all the characters speak with a heavy Scots accent - a dictionary of slang may come in handy. I loved it as a work of fiction and will be keeping my copy to read on dark, windy and wintry nights (oooh, spooky).