“The Highlander’s Tale: Alex” by Julia Brannan

Young Alex MacGregor’s destiny is all laid out for him. As the eldest son of the clan’s Chieftain the future responsibilities weigh heavily on his young shoulders for he’d rather be allowed to just be a boy having fun. However, his father insists Alex must be properly educated in preparation for his future, which is why he and his brother Duncan are inside being tutored instead of outside playing with their friends. When tragedy strikes the McGregor household, Alex is forced to grow up fast, learning to fight like a man and lead by example so that when the time comes for him to take over as Chieftain, the clan will follow him willingly. But he’s hoping that won’t be for a long time yet as he’s only fourteen.

“The Highlander’s Tale: Alex” is a spin-off from The Jacobite Chronicles by Julia Brannan and gives the reader an unvarnished look at eighteenth century clan life in the highlands. Brannan tempers the physical hardships with the close-knit community that works together and cares for each other. Alex is a unique character in that he has the gift of total recall, remembering every word said within his hearing and every detail of his surroundings at any given time. That makes for a truly interesting character. Overall, I admire Brannan’s writing and I’m impressed by the research she so obviously puts into her books. I think this is the sixth Julia Brannan book I’ve read. That said, I found the pacing of this book to be uneven. Sometimes the action was galloping along and sometimes it was mind-numbingly slow, which is reflected in my rating. Four stars.

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