Columba’s Bones – Darkland Tales

David Greig (author)



“Columba’s Bones – Darkland Tales” by David Greig is a thrilling Scandi-noir set in ninth-century Scotland. A Viking stranded on Iona seeks sacred relics among clashes of Christianity and paganism. It’s a sharp meditation on philosophy, redemption, and reality. Shortlisted for Bookmark Book Festival Book of the Year 2024.

In stock

Number of pages: 184

Published: 05 October 2023

SKU: 9781846976261 Categories: , Tag:


Embark on a riveting journey to ninth-century Scotland with “Columba’s Bones – Darkland Tales,” the debut novel of the acclaimed Scottish playwright, David Greig. This novel, unlike any before it, plunges readers into a Scandi-noir-style thriller set against the rugged backdrop of the Isle of Iona in the year 825. Greig masterfully recasts this historical setting, where the sacred and the profane, early Christianity and paganism, intertwine in a narrative rich with philosophy, redemption, shame, violence, love, transcendence, and reality.

The story unfolds with a violent Viking raid that results in the murder of Abbot Blathmac, killed for safeguarding the hidden relics of St Columba—the revered missionary responsible for bringing Christianity to Scotland. In the aftermath of bloodshed and chaos, a lone Viking finds himself stranded, hungover, and forsaken by his comrades. Bereft of his sword and unable to swim with no boats in sight, he is left to navigate the treacherous landscape and the complexities of his own survival. His quest? To uncover the secrets of the sacred relics that lured him to this unforgiving land, all the while engaging in a precarious dance of wits with the island’s sole surviving monk.

“Columba’s Bones” is a narrative woven with the threads of real history and mythology, bringing to life the ancient world of Iona and its early monks through Greig’s vivid, earthy prose. Described as “stupendously earthy, laugh out loud funny in places, visceral writing” by Sally Magnusson, this novel promises a reading experience that is as enlightening as it is entertaining.

Shortlisted for the Bookmark Book Festival Book of the Year 2024, “Columba’s Bones – Darkland Tales” is not just a story of survival and the search for sacred relics. It is a profound exploration of the human condition, a testament to the enduring power of faith and the relentless pursuit of truth. David Greig’s novel is a must-read for anyone captivated by the mysteries of history, the intricacies of faith, and the timeless quest for understanding in a world rife with contradictions.

Additional information

Weight 271 g
Dimensions 19.8 × 13 × 1.8 cm