3 Jun 2023

The Scots of Dalriada by Rowena Kinread: A Coffee and Thorn Blog Tour

Genre: Historical Fiction (5th Century, Scotland and Ireland)
250 Pages, Print and Ebook


Fergus, Loarn and Angus, Princes of the Dalriada, are forced into exile by their scheming half-brother and the druidess Birga One-tooth.


Fergus conceals himself as a stable lad on Aran and falls helplessly in love with a Scottish princess, already promised to someone else. Loarn crosses swords against the Picts. Angus designs longboats.


Always on the run the brothers must attempt to outride their adversaries by gaining power themselves. Together they achieve more than they could possibly dream of.

Fergus Mór (The Great) is widely recognised as the first King of Scotland, giving Scotland its name and its language. Rulers of Scotland and England from Kenneth mac Alpín until the present time claim descent from Fergus Mór.

Full of unexpected twists and turns, this is a tale of heart-breaking love amidst treachery, deceit and murder.


 My Review: ⭐⭐⭐

It took me a while to get into this book, but by the end it was an interesting fictionalized account of the very early Irish settlements in Scotland. The Kingdom of Dalriada which spanned the Irish Sea consisted of such settlements.

I think "The Scots of Dalriada" is a better title than Fergus McNair, because it isn't really about one character, but Fergus and his brothers and the political forces which drove them to Scotland. I did find the personal/romantic parts of the story a little slower and hard going.
It ranged between narrative accounts (this happened then this happened) and a more detailed portrayal of everyday life. I wasn’t 100% sure it was accurate for the time period either, but that isn’t necessarily a big deal because it was more about the story of the characters.

It wasn’t my favourite book, I think I prefer M.N. Stroh’s Tales of the Clans Series, but that is about Ireland instead of Scotland. It was good for people interested in Historical Fiction and especially an under-appreciated figure from Scottish History.

One point worth noting is that this is *not* Inspirational/Religious Fiction. For my followers who typically read this I will add a content warning for

  • Graphic/Semi-detailed sex scenes, including one in the first chapter. -
  • Character Deaths, incl. violent deaths 

About the Author: 

Rowena Kinread grew up in Ripon, Yorkshire with her large family and a horde of pets.

She began writing in the nineties. Her special area of interest is history. After researching her ancestry and finding family roots in Ireland with the Dalriada clan, particularly this era. Her debut fiction novel titled The Missionary is a historical novel about the dramatic life of St. Patrick. It was published by Pegasus Publishers in April 2021 and has been highly appraised by The Scotsman, The Yorkshire Post and the Irish Times.

Her second novel The Scots of Dalriada centres around Fergus Mór, the founder father of Scotland and takes place in 5th century Ireland and Scotland. It was published by Pegasus in January 2023.

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