By: David S. Florig
Publication Date: September 12, 2023
Reviewed by: Lily Andrews
Neatly interweaving mystery and rich period detail, The Stones of Ailsa Craig digs deep into the history of an island in Scotland, and carries along with it a wistful take on the origin of the curling game.
The Stones of Ailsa Craig is a historical fiction novel written by David S. Florig. The story alternates between present-day Belfast, Maine, and the late 1880's Scotland on the island of Ailsa Craig, which is home to the best curling stone granite in the world.
Darcie and Murdock were married in a local church in 1888 in Ailsa Craig, Scotland. For Darcie, it was the happiest day of her life as she looked forward to spending the rest of her life with her true love whom she had known since primary school. Unfortunately, her dreams were cut short on June 16, 1888, when her husband, then a worker below deck aboard a paddle steamer, lost his life after another ship rammed into the steamer's starboard side.
Darcie was devastated and found a great deal of comfort in her Christian faith's liturgy and rituals. However, her life would be tragically cut short when she was murdered in cold blood. Investigations by the local authorities to uncover the perpetrator behind the heinous act bore no fruit and the suspect was finally acquitted of the murder charges due to lack of evidence. Years later in present-day Belfast, Maine, a thirty-year-old widower whose wife, Molly, had earlier died of cancer, accidentally finds intriguing photos of his late wife's family tree and her Scottish roots that lead him into a sinister trail of obsession and revenge as he seeks to bring justice to Darcie and indirectly to Molly.
Author Florig adroitly captures readers' attention with this graceful fictional novel. His characters, both fictional and factual, present readers with the overarching themes of love, loss, tragedy, and retribution, through the masterful intertwining of two distinct periods and continents. The exciting and interesting narrative goes further to give historical details on the Scottish criminal laws, alongside the history of the curling game, a sport once known as the gentleman's game. That the author judiciously combines mystery, sports, history, and action in one plot is a win-win in all ways. Florig also gives a decent send-off to all his characters, explaining their actions and eliminating any loose ends, thus erasing any speculation and doubt that may arise during the reading.
One of the book's master strokes is its lyrical language and unsparing vision which provides vivid descriptions of the terrain and landscapes that surround the characters, making a reader feel they are part of the story. The prose is sharp and evocative as well, as it delves into human nature and explores the darkest corners of the human psyche. The tension and suspense in the plot are palpable, creating an atmosphere that is both disquieting and addictive.
Quill says: The Stones of Ailsa Craig is a crowning achievement for David S. Florig. It undoubtedly showcases his immense talent and versatility as an author and deserves a place on the shelves of every fan of historical fiction.
For more information on The Stones of Ailsa Craig, please visit the author's website at: https://www.davidflorig.com/