"Everything Douglas Bond writes...is a fascinating read."
Joel Belz, WORLD Magazine

"The best read-aloud books I've ever read," J.S., St. Louis



"Will lift you into the 17th century and onto the moorlands of Scotland. This is the danger-zone inhabited by evil, danger, death, courage, and faith. A story not to be missed." 

Sinclair B. Ferguson, St. George's-Tron Parish Church, Glasgow, Scotland

"Douglas Bond has introduced a new generation to the heroics of the Scottish Covenanters, and he has done it in a delightful way. A gripping tale full of action, purpose, principle, and character."

Ligon Duncan, First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, Mississippi

"A splendid tale told with imagination and skill, set against an authentic background. Enjoy it, learn from it, and be grateful." 

A. Douglas Lamb, Scottish Covenanters Memorials Association, Scotland


Ideas for a series of historical fiction books celebrating the faith and trials of the Scottish  Covenanters in the 17th century began brewing  in the author's mind in the spring of 1999. While on his third trip to Scotland Bond was reading a scholarly (and rather turgid) history of the Covenanters. It was then that early notes and ideas began forming. After checking Let the Authors Speak, a curriculum reference book detailing historical periods and fiction books in print on that history, Bond found that only one other work of historical fiction was currently in print on the Covenanters, Sir Walter Scott's Old Mortality, by no means a favorable portrayal of these Christians.  Bond proposed the series to P&R Publishing, the publisher he was convinced would do the finest job of publishing these books. He has not been disappointed. The author has since traveled many more times to Scotland, stomping over most of the places described in the books, including spending most of a rainy summer there with his patient wife and children. 

Rebel's Keep gets its title from Loudoun Keep, one of a number of ancient fortified houses throughout Scotland. This keep is in the village of Newmilns, Ayrshire, in Scotland. In1685, it was the site of a daring rescue of eight Covenanter prisoners arrested at an illegal conventicle meeting for prayer and Bible reading at nearby Little Blackwood Farm. Rebel's Keep is the chronicle of the trials and adventures of the M'Kethe family as they do their best to "Uphold the crown rights of the Redeemer in his Kirk," all while attempting to honor King Charles II and later James II during the period of fiercest persecution in Scotland justly called by historians "The Killing Time."

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Recent reader response:

My name is Gabriel Hawkins; I am 14 years old, and my siblings and I are home-schooled in Ellensburg, Washington. I first got your book “Duncan’s War” for Christmas two years ago. Ever since then I've been hooked!

I have really enjoyed reading through the “Crown and Covenant” series and the “Faith and Freedom” series as well. I have also read “Hostage Lands”. The action and suspense, along with Christian demonstrating characters are perfect. These books have really encouraged me in my walk with Christ and have opened my eyes to what really happened in Scotland, England and the American Revolution. I never realized that persecution was so great in Scotland! It has inspired me to learn more about what you write with every book. They are really "books that help boys become men."

I hope that you will continue to write. Are you planning on writing more on the M’Kethe family? Thank you for being a bright light in today's culture.

Gabriel Hawkins

This is what 17th century warfare was like for Covenanters

Symbolism in REBEL'S KEEP, Book Club Resource



Symbol: Something that stands for or suggests something else by reason of relationship, association, convention, or accidental resemblance; especially, a visible sign of something invisible (for example, the lion is a symbol of courage and the cross is a symbol of Christianity). In this sense all words can be called symbols, but the examples given – the lion and the cross – are really metaphors: that is, symbols that represent a complex of other symbols, and which are generally negotiable in a given society (just as money is a symbol for goods or labor). These are considered public symbols in that they are universally recognized. The symbols used in literature are often of a different sort: they are private or personal in that their significance is only evident in the context of the work in which they appear.

Symbol is distinguished from allegory in that the allegorical figure has no meaning apart from the idea it is meant to indicate within the structure of the allegory, whereas a symbol has a meaning independent of the rest of the narrative in which it appears. A symbol can also have more than one meaning while the meaning of the allegorical figure is clear and specific to the rest of the allegory. (Merriam-Webster’s Reader’s Handbook, p. 498)

The crow appears to symbolize two different ideas in REBEL’S KEEP. One is: love from the unlovely (the private or personal symbol), and the other is: the foreshadowing of death or doom when crows circle (the public symbol). In Rebel’s Keep, the author juxtaposes the common behaviors and understandings about crows with an unusual, almost unbelievable, relationship that the main character has with a pet crow. This juxtaposition allows the author to create a sense of irony within the reader by developing both of these themes simultaneously.

In King’s Arrow we are introduced to Angus’s bird, Flinch, and come to accept this odd carrion crow as does Angus’s family. Later, in Rebel’s Keep the author clearly presents the war within Angus regarding his love/hate relationship to the crow.

"Angus always had mixed feelings about Flinch; he was certain he had. The fact was, he hated crows. He hated their sassy cawing, their pestering ways. He hated what they ate. He hated what they tried to do to newborn lambs too weak to elude the tearing claws and gouging beak of a hungry crow. He hated their ominous circling before a battle. He hated their pecking and tearing – their gorging ways after a battle. No, he hated crow. But, somehow, Flinch had been different. And now Flinch was dead. … He would never hear the King and Kirk from that silly bird again. But try as he might, he could not harden himself against the dead bird." (pg. 112)

Read passages about crows: pgs. 59, 112, 152, 162, 188, 227, & 241. Notice the author’s use of the crow to foreshadow death or doom, to communicate the sting of death, to bring hope, and create levity. The use of the crow theme assists the reader in bridging historical reality with the created narrative and engaging plot of an historical novel.

BY LESLIE JOHNSON, for the Future Men’s Book Club