'A triumph of suspense ... what sets Fair Helen above the usual run of historical novels, aside from Greig's extraordinarily deft use of language, is its moral depth, its acute sense of the intricacies of the Border feuds'
'One of the best historical novels of recent years, Greig dusts off the past and presents it with tremendous skill'
'Exciting and moving, intelligent and imaginative ... Demands to be read once at the gallop, and then a second time slowly, savouring the details and relishing its intelligence'
For what sets Fair Helen above the usual run of historical novels, aside from Grieg's extraordinarily deft use of language, is its moral depth, its acute sense of intricacies of the Border feuds and of the Byzantine intrigues of James' inner circle and, most poignantly, the helplessness and determination of those characters.
This is a rollicking tale in the Scots Baronial style, bristling with antlers and claymores, and wonderfully entertaining.
Told in a supple prose that makes effective use of the Scots language of the period, Greig's novel...combines an intelligent adventure story with a melancholic reflection on a memory and the passage of time.
Andrew Greig, himself a fine poet, had taken one of the most exquisite and moving of these ballads, and made something that is both new and true to its sprits. Fair Helen is a novel that demands to be read once at the gallop, and then a second time slowly, savouring the details and relishing its intelligence. One can't praise it more highly
Greig is a poet as well as a novelist and takes clear joy in creating a language for the book which abounds in Scots words and gorgeous description... vivid metaphors are to be found on almost every page.
Andrew Greig is one of Scotland's most breath-taking poets. His strength lies in capturing the rugged, wild landscape and the psyche of the people who inhabit it.
A beautifully written elegy to love and loss, it will draw you in from the first page. And it's final revelation is heartbreaking. Quite simply, a wonderful read.
Greig uses the Scottish ballad Helen of Kirkconnel of 1590 to create an enchanting tale bursting with the timeless themes of romance, violence, jealousy and adventure