‘The Monastery’ is a novel by Walter Scott that tells the story of the Monastery of Kennaquhair and its mysterious occupants and supernatural situations. The monastery is on the brink of destruction as not only are Protestant soldiers marching on it but its inhabitants are plagued by betrayal and infighting. The tale revolves around Halbert and Edward, two troublesome brothers who are both in love with the same woman, Mary. Tensions are already high in the abbey due to sightings of a celestial spectre before Piercie Shafton, an Englishman on the run for treason, arrives to seek solitude. Piercie is one of Scott’s funniest characters as he pompously pursues Mary, much to the chagrin of Halbert, who challenges Piercie to a duel that will determine the fate of the monastery and all its occupants. ‘The Monastery’ is written in the gothic tradition as the haunting White Lady plagues the characters. Scott’s romantic style is still present as the White Lady is an incredibly poetic character and he uses lyrical prose to portray an abbey on the verge of ruin. ‘The Monastery’ is a highly dramatic story, laced with political intrigue, social satire, and haunting imagery that will stick with readers long after they have finished it. This thrilling novel will have readers on the edge of their seats awaiting the fate of the monastery and its citizens and is recommended for fans of gothic literature.
Walter Scott (1771 – 1832) was a Scottish writer, poet, and historian. Fascinated by traditional storytelling, during the 1790s Scott dedicated himself to researching and collecting ballads and published the epic collection ‘Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border’ in 1802. A prominent poet, Scott also wrote and published a range of poems, including the popular ‘The Lady of the Lake.’ His first historical novel ‘Waverley’ was published in 1814, whereupon it was an immediate success, receiving critical acclaim and selling out many printings. His best-known work ‘Ivanhoe’ followed in 1820. Scott died in 1832 at the age of 61. He was commemorated after his death with monuments in Edinburgh, Glasgow, and New York due to his impact on western literature. His literary works influenced and inspired many other great authors such as Virginia Woolf. Internationally renowned, Scott’s literary legacy continues to be felt all over the world to this day.