Authors: Elizabeth Marshall
Published by Deborah-Ann Brown at Smashwords
Copyright 2012 Deborah-Ann Brown
Smashwords Edition, License Notes
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This book is a work of fiction. Names and characters
are the product of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to
actual persons, either living or dead is entirely coincidental.
With all my love, I dedicate this book to my family:
Andrew, Sean, Kelly, Steve, David, George, Emma and Rose, my mother
Patricia, my mother-in-law Joyce and my father-in-law George, who
sadly passed away on 21st of June 2011.
God bless you all for everything.
To Charisse Sayers my editor and dear friend who held
my hand through writers’ block, pushed us both to make this book
the best it can be, and has become the most precious friend a
writer could ever wish to have. You really are an incredible lady
with an amazing talent.
My love and thanks for everything you have done for
Mollie Hopkins, my crazy, adorable and dear friend,
who was the first person to ever read this manuscript. Mollie I
will always be grateful to you for the advice you gave me when this
book was little more than a draft. But you did more than just read
a manuscript, much more than that, you believed enough in this
project to introduce me to Charisse and for that I am eternally
To the best public house in York, ‘Ye Olde Starre
Inne’ you are absolutely, one hundred percent, responsible for my
passion for ancient pubs, which is of course why I have chosen to
use ‘Ye Olde Starre Inne’ as a key location in the ‘Highland Secret
Series’. Thank you for putting up with my endless questions and for
providing the perfect retreat from a hard day’s writing.
Here’s to Friday nights and your wonderful pub.
The Glencoe Visitors’ Centre and all the staff – for
their kind and warm welcome, and the inspiration for this story –
very many thanks to all of you.
To Barley Hall and all the staff – for bringing
history alive and for your tireless patience in answering my
endless questions – I thank you all kindly.
The Isles of Glencoe hotel, Ballachulish and all the
staff – for their patience and unrivaled hospitality during my
research – I thank you gratefully.
Four very precious and special friends, Terri
Giuliano Long, Eva Coppersmith,
Jimmy McIver and Paul Anthony – there are no words
that could possibly express my thanks and appreciation for your
kindness and support. I cherish our friendship more than you could
ever know and thank you all dearly for everything.
Kel, Ste, Dave, Sean, Emma, George, Andy and Rose –
my precious and dear family. We did this!
Every minute of every day you have been there –
holding my hand, supporting me through this. You have been my
proofreaders, researchers, managers, critics, inspiration, plot
developers, graphic designers, IT experts and trailer directors but
most of all you have been my friends.
No one could be prouder or love you more than I
Thank you, my Kel, Ste, Dave, Sean, Emma, George Andy
You are my world. x
In the writing of this book the author seeks to tell
a tale; a story of fantasy, mystery and intrigue. For the purpose
of the tale, which is set in a real world at a real point in time,
it has been necessary to include some historical facts and bias.
However, it was never the author’s intent to write a book of
historical fact or to reflect personal or political opinion in any
For the purpose of my story, I chose not to
include the events that led up to the massacre in the content of
the story. However, for those who may be interested in some
background, I have added this brief and basic historical
In 1688, the Protestant William III and Mary
II deposed the Roman Catholic King of Britain, James II. The
English, whilst not ecstatic about their new monarch, were content.
The Highlands of Scotland however were still very much in support
of the deposed King James II and proved, at best, difficult to
appease. Finally, in 1691, in an attempt to gain control and peace
in the Highlands, King William negotiated an amnesty scheme with
the clan leaders of the Highlands. A requirement of the scheme was
that all clan chieftains take an oath of allegiance to William and
Mary before the 1st January 1692. A lot of clan chiefs left taking
the oath until the last minute, yet despite this, all but one,
MacDonald of Glencoe, made the deadline. A combination of bad luck
and a fierce snowstorm prevented MacDonald from taking the oath on
time. Nevertheless, MacDonald returned to Glencoe, believing his
oath legal and his clan safe.
However, the authorities chose to make an
example of the MacDonald clan and declared the oath invalid. They
ordered a military force of Campbells, loyal supporters of the
crown, under the command of Robert Campbell into Glencoe. Under the
guise of friendship the Campbells convinced the MacDonalds that
they had come in peace. The MacDonalds welcomed their old
adversaries into their homes, they entertained, fed and shared
their food and clothes with them.
Very early on the morning of February 13th
1692 the following order was issued to Captain Robert Campbell of
You are hereby ordered to fall upon the Rebels,
the MacDonalds of Glencoe, and put all to the sword under 70. You
are to have especial care, that the Old Fox and his Sons do upon no
account escape your Hands, you are to secure all the avenues that
no man can escape: this you are to put in Execution at five a Clock
in the Morning precisely, and by that time or very shortly after
it, I’ll strive to be at you with a stronger party. If I do not
come at five, you are not to tarry for me but fall on. This is by
the King’s Special command, for the good and safety of the country,
that these miscreants may be cut off root and branch. See that this
be put in execution without Feud or Favor, else you may expect to
be treated as not true to the King or Government nor a man fit to
carry Commission in the King’s Service. Expecting you will not fail
in the fulfilling hereof as you love yourself, I subscribed these
with my hand...’
[signed] Robert Duncanson
For Their Majesties Service
To Captain Robert Campbell of Glenlyon
In the context of my story, Corran is a
MacDonald; a highlander, born and raised by her grandmother on the
fertile farmland of Glencoe. The MacDonalds were no saints
themselves; personally responsible for a great many atrocities
against the Campbells they had spilled their fair share of blood in
the name of clan rivalry. However, what made the events of February
13th 1692 so heinous was the matter of ‘murder under trust’.
Simon is a Campbell of Glenlyon, a
highlander, serving as a soldier for the English king, as did many
Campbells. I have tried to show, through Simon, how many of the
Campbell soldiers were repulsed by the orders they had been given.
Indeed it is questionable whether the soldiers, garrisoned with the
MacDonalds for eleven days, had any knowledge of the job they had
been sent to do, prior to the morning of February 13th 1692.
The Campbells, although politically astute
and supporters of the English king, were still Highlanders, bound
like any other Highlander to their Highland code. The events of
February 13th 1692 broke that code in the worst possible way and I
sincerely doubt this would have been done willingly, if at all, by
In my sleep I heard her; softly she whispered
my name. Like a hazy fog, her voice hovered above me. Gently
enticing, she sought to draw me from sleep. In my dream, I raised
my hand toward the voice and touched my grandmother’s cheek. She
bent toward me, lightly brushing her lips across my forehead.
Something was wrong. The sickly, metallic copper stink of fresh
blood and death hung in the air of my dream. My throat contracted
as I choked on smothering fumes. In the distance I heard the
terrifying crackle of flames.
I woke in a rush of panic, clinging
pathetically to my covers. The burning smoke hung thick and heavy
around me. I retched uncontrollably as it scorched my throat and
lungs. Stumbling from my bed, and calling her name, I crawled
toward the elderly woman on the other side of the room. I grappled
in the dark, smoky room for the tiny frail body of my grandmother
and placed my hand upon her chest. It did not rise and fall with
the slow rhythmic pattern of life. A pitiful, piercing wail
penetrated the room as I wept with despair, loss and fear. From
outside the cries of panic and terror were much the same as my own.
I could hear the thudding of my pulse in my ears; I felt the cold
stone floor beneath my hands and knees as I crawled toward the
wooden door of the cottage.
'Let me live, please, dear God let me live' I
thought as I burst through the door. I blinked, trying to clear my
streaming eyes. The icy wind pounded me with snow as I coughed and
choked, desperate to empty my lungs. As my eyes cleared, and I
stumbled into the light of burning thatch, I saw a blaze of musket
fire. Bodies lay upon the snow-covered street ahead of me. The
sulfurous smell of a fired gun hung in the air. I turned as a
flicker of moonlight on a polished musket barrel caught my eye and
then I watched helplessly as reddened bayonets sliced mercilessly
through the heart of my world.
Men, women and children screamed in terror,
withering against pain as they fell bludgeoned to death by men of
the army. I knew some of them! A tall, thin, wiry man with hair so
dark red it could have been copper. Another had a scar from his eye
to his chin. I gawped at our guests, horrified by their bloody
With the quick thinking and strength of
desperation, I stumbled in shock and fear away from the terror,
realizing that my glen had fallen forever on a bloodstained carpet
of snow. With every step taken in urgent terror-filled panic, I
started to run through the blizzard toward the mountains. The air
pierced my skin like a blade and my feet burnt with the pain of the
frozen ground. There was little shelter as I plunged through the
bitter wall of snow and fog. I knew as sure as the daylight that
crept through the misty blizzard that I had to find shelter soon. I
struggled for breath, my feet and hands numbed; tiredness crept
into every muscle and bone of my body.
Corran’s exhausted body crumpled to the frozen
ground, claimed by the piercing sword of the icy wind. Snow whipped
the mountain face, as the sun rose slowly in the morning sky. Tiny
flickers of warming rays danced through the morning mist, seeking
her motionless form, coming to settle on her sunken, lifeless face.
The tiny rays of light began to grow and spread across her, moving
slowly, like a gentle running stream to blanket her lifeless form
in a glow that shimmered and danced with brilliant tones of orange
and yellow. Slowly, the light began to warm the melting snow and
ice to leave Corran lying in a gloriously warm pool of gently
bubbling water. Above her fragile body came a shimmering dome of
colors, emanating a glowing rainbow of sparkling light. A single
stag appeared through the freezing mist. Bending slowly it pierced
the bubble of light with its silver antlers, gently lowering its
head through the magical rays of light to nuzzle the tip of its
nose against Corran’s face.
A light of the most magnificent colors shone
around me and illuminated a stag with silver antlers. Perhaps I
imagined the stag, for it was winter and the stags had lost their
antlers, besides, when I looked again it was no longer there. The
light above me was warm, like the rays of the sun on a summer
afternoon in the glen. I could touch this light: it shimmered and
glittered above me like nothing I had ever seen before. I could see
the snow-covered ground outside my cocoon. I remembered that I had
fled my home, where my grandmother lay dead, but my last conscious
memory was of death. With shock I concluded that I must be in
heaven for I had surely died. So I rose from my warm pool of water,
noticing that the pod of shimmering light had vanished. I wondered
what my God wanted me to do. There appeared to be no obvious clue
or signal so, on instinct, I turned and headed back down the