Magic, Mystery, a little Whisky, and a Cat

Sorchia Reviews Clanlands

First, I wanted to let you all know that I just passed my most recent blood test and am free from doctors for nearly three months–just a little yearly maintenance to do. You know how it goes; the older the model, the more upkeep.

Second, be aware that the entire Zoraida Grey trilogy is up for a Reviewers’ Choice Award at Paranormal Romance Guild. Voting begins on February 6 and ends on February 12 so hurry over to the Paranormal Romance Guild and make your voice heard.. Many categories, many great books.

Finally, this quarantine has at least given me time to jump into some books I’ve been dying to read. One such item is Clanlands: Whisky, Warfare, and a Scottish Adventure Like No Other by Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish.

Ok. I admit it. I got the audio version of Clanlands just so I could listen to Scottish accents whispered in my ear in the evening. Mission Accomplished.

Clanlands: Whisky, Warfare, and a Scottish Adventure Like No Other by Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish is a travel book narrated by two stars of the Outlander series. The two “men without a clue” rent a caravan—that’s RV to you Americans—and embark on a whisky-fueled adventure to some of Scotland’s most historic sites. Beautiful Glencoe with its tragic history and Culloden, the site of the last battle of the Rising in 1746 are dramatically described. Along the way we meet the current Lady MacBeth, modern clan leaders, a variety of bartenders and experts in Scottish history, as well as roving Outlanderati (cast, crew, and Outlander enthusiasts.)

A couple of things I learned (besides Scottish history):

  1. These two narrators are actors so by definition, they are also hams. It’s to be expected, but be forewarned– the hamery is extraordinarily strong with these two.
  2. You can take the kid out of Scotland, but you can’t take Scotland…you get the idea.

I can trace my lineage on my Dad’s side to a Ross who boarded a ship for America in 1749.

What part he played in the Rising, I do not know. It’s a fairly sure bet the resulting chaos and penury inflicted on the Scotts afterwards had something to do with his departure only a few years later.

In America, he fathered a troupe of Scottish Americans, the latest issue being my sister and hers and me and mine.  All told, my family like most Americans’ are a mishmash of immigrants. We hail from Germany, Ireland, and Scotland. Amongst our number, you will find Native Americans and African Americans added to the mix. We have been teachers, farmers, businessmen, horse-thieves, slaveowners, and enslaved.

Though my blood is diluted with all those other cultures, the plaid corpuscles in my system boiled at the betrayal of Glencoe and wept at the tragic finality of Culloden as described by Heughan and McTavish. If Jung is right and a collective unconscious is keeping score, then the Scottish section is still pissed—in all the many meanings of the word.

Besides Scottish history and best practices for making whisky in the loo of a traveling circus, Clanlands documents the life and careers of its two narrators. They tell tales of the Outlander set and gossip a bit. Clanlands is mostly light and fun and filled with foolishness and fancy. Plus it has a foreword by herself, Diana Gabaldon, author of Outlander.

A related tv series titled Men in Kilts is upcoming on Starz, I believe. I wish they’d left the title Clanlands, but I’m not in charge. Still, get ready for a large helping of the history and imagery of Scotland along with some outstanding knee-porn.

If you are an Outlander fan, a descendant of Scottish heritage, a Scotch fanatic, a fan of travel books, or just looking for something to take you away from the current plague-infested reality, Clanlands will do the trick.

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