The Cursing Stone by Adrian Harvey. Book Review
Fergus Buchanan is something of a prince on the remote Scottish island of Hinba. It’s a simple and uncomplicated life where the ebb and flow of the seasons make themselves felt, but Fergus has everything he needs, including an adoring girlfriend.
Then Fergus’s life takes an unexpected turn when he is sent to retrieve an ancient artefact, the cursing stone, which has been stolen from the island. So begins the journey that Fergus must undertake, as a modern day knight errant, striding off into the great unknown to fulfil his honourable quest.
About a quarter of the book is spent on Hinba before Fergus sets out to find the cursing stone. The prose lingers over the landscape and the life of the people on it. The usual criticism of this approach is that it slows down the story and distracts the reader but, in The Cursing Stone, Adrian Harvey uses it to immerse the reader in Fergus’s world so that when he goes out into intense urbanisation you feel his bewilderment within the densely populated and highly built up environment. As a reader what most of us consider just a normal way of life in modern cities and towns suddenly takes on a whole different meaning as we see the world anew. We marvel at an environment that for Fergus appears every bit strange and mysterious as that of a character in a fantasy story picking their way through the hazards of an unknown world in which some people are friends, some are foe, and you may not immediately know who is which.
The Cursing Stone is effectively a rite of passage book as the naive country boy becomes incrementally affected by his experiences in the outside world as he hunts down the property of his island. Not only do you wonder if he will succeed on his quest but also whether the venture will mature or develop Fergus in new and interesting ways, or will the modern world manage to corrupt his pure soul?
The ending is highly effective and does manage to surprise.
The Cursing Stone was courtesy of Urbane Publications