RiseVibes: The Celtic Stone By Nick Hawkes

The Celtic Stone is a fictional story about an Australian pilot, Chris Norman, who travels to the Isle of Skye on the west coast of Scotland where he has inherited his grandfather’s meagre estate. Intrigued by a place where  a house cow can feature in someone’s will, and curious to discover how the Aboriginal man who saved his life came to be wearing a Celtic cross, he settles into the remote islander way of life, drawn especially by the beautiful, blind Morag and a recently orphaned young boy.

The story has romance, mystery and a peppering of fascinating facts on topics as diverse as eye surgery techniques, West Scottish history and energy saving house design.  I think it would appeal to a wide audience of both men and women.

It is set in a part of the world that I have read very little about and I enjoyed reading about the way of life there. I could really feel the warm, inviting atmosphere of Chris Norman’s new home in contrast to the harsh climate outside.

The beginning of the book grabbed my attention. The perspective of the Aboriginal man and the descriptions of the Australian desert were fascinating and evocative. “The white man left his marks across the sky as well… How could they make smoke straight as a spear, fly across the sky?” I would have liked to have somehow returned to that at the end, to bring the story full circle.

Perhaps mirroring the attitudes of a remote, local community towards newcomers, the main body of the story takes a while to warm up but by the last few chapters I could not turn the pages fast enough. The Celtic cross has an intriguing and perilous history.

Nick subtly conveys biblical truth making the book suitable for both Christians and those who are questioning the Christian faith. The main character struggles with the universal questions of suffering and loss. When he challenges the chaplain at Iona, an historically key centre for Christianity in Scotland, he agrees that “there are no easy answers to the question of suffering.” The chaplain continues to explain that God “has set a time to make all things new… In the meantime he promises to be with us in our suffering, to give us strength to overcome it and…to empower us to do something about it whenever we come across it.”

The over-arching message of the book is that God’s plans and purposes are so much greater and he works through even seemingly disastrous circumstances to bring about His good and perfect will.

The characters are authentic, their voices are distinct and the plot rises like a wave on the wild West Scottish coast, finally crashing to a climactic end. I enjoyed this book and am sure you will too.

Reviewer: Cindy Williams

‘The Celtic Stone’ is published by Even Before Publishing and is available in all good bookstores or online at www.evenbeforepublishing.com.