Douglas Reeman Commentary

“The book beside me ...”

Douglas Reeman on Coronach

Douglas Reeman

Douglas Reeman

MANY WRITERS HAVE a last name in common, and among the Rs on any shelf, in any bookshop or library, it is always interesting to see what books stand next to mine. However, throughout my long career, there has never been another Reeman until now. Coronach, the historical epic by the woman who shares my name and, most importantly, my life, now occupies that place.

Obviously, Kim and I know one another as intimately as any soulmates can who have shared more than a quarter of a century of love, life and work. Obviously, we’ve talked about what was in progress on our desks and exchanged ideas, and for Coronach one winter afternoon I drew diagrams and moved model ships around on the dining room table as Kim talked me through a couple of scenes. But not until I opened this book, which is dedicated to me, and stepped into her world, did I truly understand what had been happening in the upstairs study and in the mind of the woman I love.

From the first page I was utterly gripped. I felt the cold, heard the rain, saw the light and shadows on the faces of the characters. I heard their voices, what they said to one another and what they didn’t say: something sometimes so difficult to do, but here accomplished with the invisible technique that is the hallmark of a very fine writer. And this is a very fine book, and a great story. It is not Alexander Kent, nor should that be expected, but it is a most worthy companion to the Bolitho novels. Its sweep and vision of the eighteenth century, Britain’s long years of war with France and the origins of the American Revolution, can only complement mine. Clearly, starkly, and with absolute accuracy, describing the Scottish Highlands after the bloody victory at Culloden, and placing that tragedy within the context of history, it is the story of those who survived to live under a ruthless army of occupation and suffered the brutal consequences. Those who endure, who seek recovery and search for hope, for faith, for forgiveness and for love. So real, and so true.

I looked forward to every day’s reading of Coronach, and dreaded coming to the end of this rare and compelling story. I urge you to read it, too.