Monarch of the Glen

Who knows me knows, that half of my heart is beating Scottish. There is another 10% beating Irish but that doesn’t matter now.

As I was looking around some online shopping giant that Scottish half of my heart suddenly started to beat faster when I found an e-book called “Monarch of the Glen” written by one of my favourite authors: Neil Gaiman

A title with an obvious Scottish reference, an “American Gods” story – I didn’t wait. The story was bought immediately.

The Story

Shadow Moon, the same Shadow Moon who saved the world in “American Gods”, son of Odin, traveled the world and finally came to Scotland.

Shadow didn’t seek any more adventure. But it wouldn’t be Shadow Moon, if adventure wouldn’t seek him. Fate had decreed him to become a bouncer at some private party. A special party with special guests.

Short and magnificient

“Monarch of the Glen” is short. Very short. You won’t find it at the book shop next corner except as part of “Fragile Things”, a coolection of short stories by Neil Gaiman. Separately I found it only in e-book stores.

But the length of a story has nothing to do with its quality an the “Monarch of the Glen” is of high quality. Neil Gaiman tells this tale in a calm and quite matter-of-fact tone, appropriate for this story. The story is too short for an exuberance of emotions.

Even the showdown is kept shortly. There’s no blood dripping portrayal of a battle. The opponents are wrestling, the one or the other gets a hit and in the end Shadow himself doesn’t remember what had happened during the fight. It is a fight described with style and respect, a battle that is made into pictures in the reader’s fantasy only.

Despite the shortness and objectiveness Mr. Gaiman is painting vivid images. Scotland is a mystical land. Film makers are mostly showing stereotypes of the land and the people. Who once has been in Scotland knows, that this image of the land is correct at least regarding the Highlands.

Helpful in creating the images is the fact that the author does not name places. It is told that the party is somewhere around Cape Wrath and that the place is at the shores of a loch. The rest is one’s own fantasy and the own pictures of Scotland. Neil Gaiman has obviously been in the north of Scotland. What he wrote had been filled by the things I saw myself when I was in Scotland. But I cannot give a detailed description of the place by what is in the story. I have only a slight idea that forms a painting within my head.

The occasional read

“Monarch of the Glen” can definetely be recommended to fans of Neil Gaiman and of “American Gods” and of course to those bearing Scotland in their hearts. It’s a beautiful short trip to a real as well as magical place.

If you’re looking for the story itself you need an e-book reader. Even though it’s available only in English (as far as I have seen) the story had not been a big deal even for me as a non native speaker. Amazon speaks of 128 pages and I’ve been through in about 1 or 2 hours. The story is ideal cover the time of a train ride or so.

If you want more you have to pick “Fragile Things”.I think, I’ll have it in my book shelf as soon as Corona permits me to visit my favourite book shop. Why then and not now? Because I want to support that book shop.

Thrill:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Fun:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Style:4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)
Average:4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

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