The legendary Stone of Destiny, currently on loan from Westminster Abbey and on display at Edinburgh Castle, is a medieval fake, according to writer Andrew Neil MacLeod in his latest book.
The author’s latest novel The Casebook of Johnson and Boswell Vol. II: The Stone of Destiny is the second volume in a historical fantasy series following the release of MacLeod’s The Fall of the House of Thomas Weir last year.
In the new work, MacLeod recounts how Edward Longshanks – the cruel and tyrannical hammer of the Scots – who brought the stone back with him to England by force, had reached the Scottish border in mid-March 1296 but it would take his army of invasion three months to reach Scone Abbey.
“Lots of time, in other words, for the cunning Scots to substitute their sacred coronation stone for a fake one. After all, the ancient chronicles depict a very different object from the featureless lump of sandstone that now circles around,” explains MacLeod.
He says this means the real Stone of Destiny, described as “cut from a solid block of basalt with curious hieroglyphics around its circumference”, is still somewhere, albeit hidden, and just waiting to be discovered. .
“In the end,” the author explains, “it didn’t really matter what Longshanks brought back with him to Westminster. It was a token act – his way of saying, ‘I am now king of England and Scotland “.” ‘
It’s a controversial theory shared by a number of reputable historians, including 18th century literary giants Samuel Johnson and James Boswell, who find themselves swept up in a great search for the truth of Enlightenment-era Edinburgh. to the western isles in the new book .
“The Stone of Destiny is essentially a road novel, and so episodic in form, with an overarching quest for the lost relic that for 700 years was used to crown the High Kings of Alba,” MacLeod says of his book. “Each clue leads the heroes to the next location, where they find another set of mysteries to solve.
“However, they are not the only ones searching for the holy relic. Hot on their heels are the Culdees, a holy order of monks who have vowed to protect the Stone of Destiny at all costs, and will stop at nothing to prevent it. to fall. to fall into the hands of the enemy.”
The author says he first got the idea for a book series while reading A Scandal in Bohemia by Arthur Conan Doyle, where Holmes describes Watson as the “Boswell to his Johnson”. “The real Doctor Johnson had a genuine interest in the occult, and with Scotland’s rich folk vein, it wasn’t a big step to recast the two friends as paranormal investigators, embarking on their famous tour of the Scottish Highlands.”
Described by its author as “The DaVinci Code meets Indiana Jones”, The Casebook of Johnson and Boswell Vol. II: The Stone of Destiny releases October 31.
There are special copies for advance reviewers which can be downloaded at: bookhip.com/HKSSFJW
The first in the trilogy, The Fall of the House by Thomas Weir, is available from Amazon as a Kindle edition (£2.99) or as a paperback (£7.64).