Bo Macreery, the author of the novel “Why We Don’t Kill Spiders,” is one of those rare writers who can pull a long forgotten period of history off a dusty book shelf and breathe fresh, new life into it; turning it into a rich and vibrant tale that resonates with the world we live in today.
“Why We Don’t Kill Spiders” chronicles the heroic efforts of Robert the Bruce to achieve Scottish independence through a series of battles; culminating in his victory over King Edward II of England at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.
It is an epic and complex story filled in equal measure with bravery, passion, cruelness and betrayal; all told with rich imagery and careful attention to detail.
At the beginning of the book, the reader is told that Robert the Bruce’s story is being told to a young Sir Walter Scott by his Aunt Jenny. This bit of literary legerdemain is handled deftly and in my opinion, makes the book more comfortable and engaging to read. Historians will point out that it was Scott that fashioned the connection between Robert the Bruce and spiders in “Tales of a Scottish Grandfather,” also known as “From Bannockburn to Flodden.” Those of us who are less knowledgeable about Scottish history, however, will be more likely to see the connection between “Why We Don’t Kill Spiders” and Mel Gibson’s award winning movie “Braveheart,” in which Angus Macfayden rendered a stellar performance as Robert the Bruce. Either way, Macreery takes a fresh approach to telling the story which makes the book a compelling read.
My only criticism of “Why We Don’t Kill Spiders”—and it is admittedly a small one—is the book’s title. Somehow it just doesn’t seem to do justice to a book written about bloody and epic battles fought by brave and dedicated men. Ironically, I just finished reviewing a book entitled “The Gathering of the Clan” which happens to be about contemporary American politics. Now that’s a title worthy of a book like Macreery’s! That’s just my opinion, of course.
Bo Macreery knows his Scottish history and it is obvious by the passion of his writing that he loves the country and its people. “Why We Don’t Kill Spiders” is a carefully researched book filled with vivid descriptions and adventures aplenty. It is an excellent read and worthy of a place on every reader’s bookshelf.