The fairytale was not going to come true. No matter how hard he tries, even when he climbs up into the princess's tower, Thomas MacGowan learns early on that Elizabeth Douglas, daughter of Lord Douglas can never be for him. Childhood friends, Thom the son of the castle blacksmith is smitten by Elizabeth right from when she was just a wee young thing who trailed around behind him and her brother Jamie.
Rejected, Thom joins Bruce's army still dreaming that he might one day be in a position to offer for Elizabeth.
Meantime, Elizabeth has outgrown childhood fancies and is determined to marry for position and power.
When her younger brother is imprisoned by the English, Elizabeth asks Thom, who has the uncanny ability to climb sheer rock faces, to attempt his rescue.
Thom's talent brings him to the attention of Bruce's secret army--The Highland Guards, but will this bring him to Elizabeth's attention? Oh, Thom has Elizabeth's womanly attention despite her rationality--something she fights hard.
Given the secret name of The Rock, Thom is revealed as so much more--solid, unwavering and committed. Indeed Thom's skill was to be a turning point in Bruce's plans for overthrowing the English and in taking Roxburg and Edinburg castles.
MacCarty's expose on the hierarchy in the society of the times is fascinating. I love her attention to detail.
I really liked Thom. I actually wondered if Elizabeth was worthy of him. Fortunately Thom thought she was. I will admit to being frequently out of charity with Elizabeth. Sure I understand her reasoning (given her childhood insecurities). She leads Thom and herself a merry dance as she fights her desire for wealth and position over love.
Initially this story didn't for me quite have the verve of others in the series, but as the story unfolded it revealed itself as an interesting addition, both frustrating and yet complex, different and immensely enjoyable.