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A Review of Duncan’s War

When does one pick up arms and when does one seek a peaceful resolution to apparent conflict? How does one love his enemies when those enemies exhibit fiery hatred toward those who oppose them?

  • Byron Snapp
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The years of Covenanter persecution were times of momentous decisions for many godly families in Scotland . Whom can one trust when some turn from Covenanter pathways to persecuting those same Covenanters? When does one pick up arms and when does one seek a peaceful resolution to apparent conflict? How does one love his enemies when those enemies exhibit fiery hatred toward those who oppose them?

These are some of the questions that young Duncan M'Kethe must answer as he grows toward manhood in the midst of the mayhem that visited the Scottish moorlands in the 17 th century.

Duncan and his family desire only to serve God and tend their land and flock in Scotland 's hills. The ruins of nearby Dumfarg Castle remind the teenager that the high hills provide no escape from the marauding enemy. Yet within his family, he is provided with godly teaching that takes root in his soul and provides the foundation he needs to successfully wrestle with the questions his culture confronts him with.

He must first realize that his primary war is not with those who oppose the Covenanters but with himself � his pride, his immaturity, and his impatience. As he works through these issues, he and the reader begin to see important qualities that form the backbone of a hero and provide the basis for heroic decisions and actions when he faces the horrible plans of his enemies.

In his growth, Duncan learns the importance of the wisdom of the more mature, and the grief, yet joy, which accompanies true sacrifice. The author has deftly woven a volume of historical fiction that introduces many historical figures and places into this account of a fictional family. In so doing, he has provided a great opportunity for teenage (and adult) readers to learn about seventeenth-century Scottish culture and Christianity, while being caught up in a volume that is full of realistic suspense and believable characters. By integrating the religious and philosophical questions with which Duncan must grapple, the author provides an opportunity for the reader to think through these same questions in light of scripture.

Illustrations by Matthew Bird, a glossary of Scottish terms, and a timeline of Covenanting history are additional bonuses to this well-written work.

This volume is the first in the Crown and Covenant series.


  • Byron Snapp

Byron Snapp is a graduate of King College (B.A.) and Reformed Theological Seminary (M.Div.). He was Associate Pastor at Calvary Reformed Presbyterian Church, Hampton, Virginia, from 1994 until his retirement in December 2014. He is a native of Marion, Virginia.  He has had pastorates in Leakesville, Mississippi, and Gaffney, South Carolina.  He served as Assistant Pastor in Cedar Bluff, Virginia prior to his ministry at Calvary Reformed. He has served as editor of the Presbyterian Witness and was a contributor to A Comprehensive Faith and Election Day Sermons. He is currently a member of Westminster Presbytery in the PCA. He and his wife Janey have 3 children and several grandchildren. 

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