Witch Wood by John Buchan

bookshelves: spring-2015, radio-4x, published-1927, britain-scotland, adventure, historical-fiction, black-magic

Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from April 02 to 09, 2015


Description: Set against the religious struggles and civil wars of seventeenth century Scotland, John Buchan’s Witch Wood is a gripping atmospheric tale in the spirit of Stevenson and Neil Munro.

As a moderate presbyterian minister, young David Sempill disputes with the extremists of his faith, as all around, the defeated remnants of Montrose’s men are being harried and slaughtered.

There are still older conflicts to be faced however, symbolised by the presence of the Melanudrigall Wood, a last remnant of the ancient Caledonian forest. Here there is black magic to be uncovered, but also the more positive pre-Christian intimations of nature worship.

In such setting, and faced with the onset of the plague, David Sempill’s struggle and eventual disappearance take on a strange and timeless aspect in what was John Buchan’s own favourite among his many novels.

3* Witch Wood
2* The 39 Steps
3* Greenmantle
2* Mr Standfast
2* The Three Hostages
2* Prester John
3* Huntingtower
4* Sick Heart River


One thought on “Witch Wood by John Buchan

  1. Oh, I should try this one. I’m trying to remember if I’ve ever read anything by Buchan other than his Hannay stories. I know I’ve always meant to read Prester John.

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